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Throwback Thursday: Hong Kong in Monochrome in the 1950's

Chinese photographer Fan Ho was in his early 20's when he started shooting the streets of Hong Kong in the 50's. When the region was running through its fast-paced transition, Ho chose to slow it down by patiently waiting for the perfect subjects and moments to capture. Decades, awards and publications later, the waiting has paid off.

In the early 1950s, Fan Ho, a 21-year-old writer and film student, began photographing Hong Kong — a city known in the West as the Pearl of the Orient — in a time of dizzying transformation. Bored by his studies, Ho turned to his camera as a source of entertainment and relief, exploring Hong Kong’s streets and making images that, seen a full seven decades later, somehow manage to mask any overt, telling signs of the era in which they were created.

“I am a director,” Ho told TIME, explaining that the people — strangers and friends — around him are his actors. Sometimes directing friends into position, at other times relying on passersby or the occasional stray alley cat to hit a specific spot, in a specific way, Ho would wait (and wait some more) for the exact moment when a street scene’s essence revealed itself.

View the full gallery on TIME or purchase his book Hong Kong Yesterday.

Loving these historic time capsules? Then you might want to check out the rest of our Throwback Thursday entries!

written by denisesanjose


  1. nacarilegea


    wow!! I love the photos, specially the one with the tiny woman and the enormous geometry :)

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  2. ksears119


    Very inspirational photos. Great article. Thx.

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  3. bkspicture


    Awesome article!!

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  4. raylemon


    man...awesome article. the photos are truly breathtaking.

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  5. superlighter


    oh my god how I love these pictures! mut go to find more of this great photographer!

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  6. saidseni


    Great pictures!

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  7. tattso


    In the mood for love.

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  8. robotto_dawad


    great article!

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  9. shariff


    wow.... simply inspiring! its just brilliant to say the least.

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Read this article in another language

This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: 中文(繁體版), 中文(繁體版), 中文(简体版) & Italiano.