Analogue virtuoso Ho Fan (何藩) has provided us a rare insight to Hong Kong before it was completely dominated by skyscrapers. His black and white photographs show the financial center in the 1950’s and are both expressionistic and realistic. With unique angles, lines, contrasts and shadows, not only does Ho transport us back in time but also to another plane of the then-Hong Kong.
Ho Fan is a self-taught photographer who was born in Shanghai then immigrated to Hong Kong at an early age. What brought him into the world of photography was a Rolleiflex camera which was a gift from his dad. Streets, markets and anything that was around him at the time became the subjects of his pictures.
Ho Fan is good at making use the light and shadow contrast to create an impressive photograph. Old trams, hot-dog buses, people in 1950s crossing the road with the help of a traffic warden in his post – are you familiar with these sights?
A diagonal line created by the angle of a shadow, with a lady in an old-fashioned dress standing at the edge of the engulfing black line may give you inspiration on new composition techniques for your photos.
Ho is a photographer, as well as a film director and an actor. If it is not stated that these are the photographic works of Ho Fan, would you have thought they were stills from a movie?
After taking a “visual” trip back to 50s – courtesy of Ho Fan’s photos – it might surprise you when stepping out into the cities of today, reflecting on the old and the new, particularly Hong Kong. Everything is changing and photography can help you capture and perserve the moment. And after a few years, when you look back to the pictures you took today, you may be amazed at the differences even a short period of time can have, too!
Inspiration and and information for this article come from this Wikipedia entry