MTR announcements warning of slippery station floors. Maneuvering through crowds, hoping you don’t lose an eye to an errant umbrella. Jumping over huge puddles and waiting in taxi queues while getting soaked. All are familiar moments for Hong Kongers when it rains.
To some, the rain can be cumbersome and annoying, but to others, like French photographer Christophe Jarcot, the rain can be the most beautiful way to see Hong Kong. Localiiz spoke with Jarcot about his photographic series, ‘Hong Kong in the Rain’.
A self-proclaimed ‘bad weather’ photographer, Jarcot is drawn to photographing downpours. Ironically, it all began when Jarcot was asked to document Paris in the sunshine for a travel magazine and ultimately created ‘Paris In the Rain’. “The weather was desperately bad, and it gave me the desire to take an opposite stance to the traditional Paris photos and seize these atmospheres at it had rarely been done,” Jarcot explained. Since Paris, he’s travelled the world to New York, Japan, and Hong Kong and documented each iconic city during their rainy seasons. After a short trip to Hong Kong in February of 2014, Jarcot decided to return during Hong Kong’s rainy season to document the city under downpour.
“Hong Kong struck me as the total opposite of Paris. I spent three weeks here in May and three weeks in August to complete ‘Hong Kong in the Rain’.” His series features exquisite photographs of Hong Kong landscapes, some taken through windows with rain pouring down and others capturing the pure rawness of rains reflection on wet streets. Each captures a beauty of Hong Kong during bad weather that many photographers don’t often choose to capture. It is an aspect of true Hong Kong living that is picturesque in its own way.
Rainfall is to Jarcot, what the ‘golden hour’ is to most photographers. “I can’t really explain why I like photographing in the rain. It’s like asking a musician why he plays music. I’m fascinated by the confrontation between two massive forces; weather and cities.”
Using a digital camera protected with a special bag, Jarcot set out to the wet streets of Hong Kong to capture his winning photographs. Of course, faced with the unpredictable and not always cooperative weather of Hong Kong, this didn’t happen without some minor speed bumps along the way. “The biggest problem I had in Hong Kong was dealing with the contrast between the humidity outside and the air conditioning inside. If I went from an air conditioned place to the humid streets too quickly, my lens would fog up immediately…a total disaster!”
Despite the pitfalls and challenges of bad weather, Jarcot is now branching out to snowy weather. His other global series include ‘Melting Greenland’ and ‘New York in Black’. A ‘bad weather globe trotter’ Jarcot continues to scour the world for the poetry within storms. We can only hope that he’ll return to Hong Kong to photograph it during our next big typhoon. Check out the rest of his bad weather photography on his website.