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Photo: Ho Fan

Ho Fan Returns with Hong Kong Stories featuring Michael Wolf

We’ve featured the work of dozens of artists who captured the futuristic charm of our city, but this time we’re winding back the clock to see just what Hong Kong’s past means to our present metropolis by peering through the lenses of two iconic street photographers, Ho Fan and Michael Wolf.

Both artists will share their fascination with the city and its hard working citizens by juxtaposing modern Hong Kong with its former self at the upcoming exhibition Hong Kong Stories. Visitors will view Ho’s vintage photographs, featuring the hustle and bustle of 1950’s and 60’s Hong Kong, taken with his double twin Rolleiflex camera and developed at his mother’s dark room in the deep of night.

Dubbed the ‘Cartier Bresson of the East’, (a French photographer considered to be the father of photojournalism), Ho creates drama in his black and white images through the combination of smoke and light as he captures local people against backdrops of hidden paths and abstract surroundings, bringing Hong Kong history to life in all its atmospheric glory.

“I love Hong Kong and I love Hong Kong people,” the award-wining artist explains. “I never intended to create a historic record of the city’s buildings and monuments; rather I aimed to capture the soul of Hong Kong; the hardship and resilience of its citizens.”

Meanwhile, Wolf journeys off the beaten track in modern day Hong Kong to hunt for traces of human activity in the back alleys of the city. Mops, rubber gloves, and a glimpse of hidden workers indulging in a quick cigarette break hint at life in the urban undergrowth in his playful series of photography which he explores in his book series, Hong Kong Trilogy, Hong Kong Flora and Informal Seating arrangements.

Unlike Ho, who immerses himself in all the action to patiently wait for the perfect frame, Wolf prefers to remain more of an outsider, using his ability to find symbolic value in seemingly insignificant details that often go unnoticed. The lack of people from his shots might fuel your curiosity about the hidden lives within but you will have to come and find out for yourself.

Travel back in time and visit the Hong Kong Stories at Michael Wolf’s Studio, Chai Wan, from March 7 to 28.

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