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.
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