Hong Kong is not only well-known for her beautiful night view though is most often photographed over the spacious harbor and shiny reflections of the buildings, implicating you'll land in the lap of luxury when you travel here. Infront of Brian Yen's camera you'll find thought provoking pieces of what it truly means to be a city-dweller.
Hong Kong is one of the most crowded places on Earth – the city’s district of Mong Kong being the densest zone in the world with more than 130,000 people per square mile. The magnitude of crowding alludes to the lifestyle of Hongkongers. Photographer Brian Yen uses the long exposure technique to freeze beautiful, fleeting moments of people and traffic in Hong Kong.
In his “One Year In Hong Kong” series, Yen juxtaposes the consistent bland grey sky, and the colossal structures planted around the city, with the hustle and bustle. Though titled “One Year”, his series actually spans six-years. The blur in the lower third and foreground may seem messy to people used to “postcard scenes” of Hong Kong but, to a Hongkonger, is an accurate depiction. It reminds me of the first photograph in which people were show – the “Boulevard du Temple”. The city becomes a ghost-town, with a muddy “wash of red” and only one or two people making it to the photo-negative by sitting still amid the chaos.
A photo of a fresh food market in Hong Kong taken from above ground-level. This “floating” perspective, combined with the long-exposure capture, draws our attention to the bleak sky, tin stall-shelters, and the crowded bland colored apartments that line the street.
Are the engines of the cars and chatter of the people audible or muted in Yen’s photos? They can be either or, which is why each study of his photos yields different results.