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Header image courtesy of Irene Flanhardt
Dubbing Tai O the “Venice of the Orient” may be somewhat of an overstatement, but the quaint little fishing village certainly has its charms, which are perfectly captured in the photography of Irene Flanhardt. Her latest exhibition features 21 photos that pay homage to the simplicity and tranquility of the village which traces all the way back to the Song dynasty (960–1279).
They beautifully depict the inhabitants, iconic stilt houses, charming fishing boats, and culinary treasures (who could resist those famous salted duck egg yolks and shrimp paste?) which have clearly captivated the photographer and led her to publish a new book, The Charm of Tai O.
“I’ve been taking photos in Tai O since 2011 and every year I shoot the dragon boat races there,” she tell us. “I dedicate the book as well as the photos in this exhibition to the inhabitants of Tai O Fishing Village who have earned my admiration for their indomitable spirit.”
“In June 2008, heavy downpours caused severe floods and landslides in Tai O, isolating it from the rest of Hong Kong. Telecommunications lines were down and the fresh water supply was interrupted for several days. Most houses were flooded and their residents’ personal belongings (including their precious family photos) were destroyed. Tai O has a special place in my heart and I want to capture it for our good memories.”