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Hong Kong through the lens of local photographers and Leica

Victoria Harbour

Photo by Photographer Edas Wong with Leica Q-P

Hong Kong is renowned by photographers from around the world for being a place that captures both the bustling city vibe and tranquillity of the countryside. Photographers H.Y. Chan, Scofield; Edas Wong; Will Yang; and Leica Akademie instructor Colin Lau have been observing the city through the lens and documenting the diverse faces of Hong Kong with their cameras. In collaboration with Leica Camera, we invited these photographers to share their tips and experiences with us. 

“Hong Kong has vibrant street life,” Lau said. “People in foreign countries drive a lot so they don’t have as many things going on on the streets. Whereas in Hong Kong, a lot is happening on the streets all the time.” The vibrancy of Hong Kong’s street life has made Hong Kong a paradise for street photographers. Capturing interactions between people and the environment is a popular pastime among these photographers and the Hong Kong streets are teeming with opportunities for these images. The diversity and fast pace of the city make it an excellent subject for amazing photos.

Window of Star Ferry Pier

Photo by Photographer Edas Wong with Leica Q-P

The pace in Hong Kong is a lot faster than that in other places, giving me a lot of elements to create art

Edas Wong

Wong has been capturing his nearby neighbourhoods for seven years. “The pace in Hong Kong is a lot faster than that in other places, giving me a lot of elements to create art,” Wong expressed. "We can observe the characteristics of the city through photography, and seeing things change every day is no doubt a very ‘Hong Kong’ experience.”

These scenes of people colliding, interacting are absolutely amazing

H.Y. Chan, Scofield

Drying Fishes

Photo by Photographer H.Y. Chan, Scofield with Leica M240

Chan agrees there is a fast pace and high density to this international city. There is also a diversity within the bustling scenes. “There are always crowds of people between towering buildings in the city, including people from different cultural groups and different social classes. All kinds of people passing through the same narrow space, making up some vivid and vibrant pictures,” he said.

Fruitmarket

Photo by Photographer H.Y. Chan, Scofield with Leica M10-P

“For example, if you stroll in Central, you will be able to see students in their school uniforms among commuters in their creaseless suits and you may walk into a construction worker after taking another turn. These scenes of people colliding, interacting are absolutely amazing,” Chan explained. Yang also appreciates the diversity within different neighbourhoods. Having a high density, according to Yang, allows you to find interesting moments in every corner. “You may find the flourished, prosperous side of Hong Kong as a modern city, but you may also find the historical side of it in some older districts,” he explained. Vibrancy and diversity are two iconic characteristics of Hong Kong filtering through the lens and creating magic in the frame.

Tram in Wan Chai

Photo by Photographer Will Yang with Leica T

Which district is best for photography? “I usually start from Mong Kok, followed by Yau Ma Tei, Jordan and finally Tsim Sha Tsui,” Chan said. He likes to see the combination of old Hong Kong and modernity in the area. “You can see a lot of old tenement buildings, stalls and markets in Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei.

However, you will find yourself surrounded by commercial buildings just a corner away from the old buildings,” Chan said. His route allows you to see the development of Hong Kong with your own eyes and through your camera. Seeing such dramatic changes in just a few blocks is something you cannot find outside of Hong Kong. Chan also likes to capture the old Hong Kong in photos as a way to preserve the city’s stories and past.

Tramway

Photo by Photographer Will Yang with Leica M10-P

Yang suggests venturing to Sham Shui Po for photos. “You can see people from the grassroots in Sham Shui Po. Seeing them striving for betterment in their lives is a kind of Hong Kong spirit to me. You can see the transformation of a city by taking pictures of people’s everyday lives,” he said.

The tram goes through the old districts and modern buildings, demonstrating a rich cultural landscape

Will Yang

Street view with tram

Photo by Photographer Will Yang with Leica M10-P

Taking the tram on the Hong Kong Island side is another valuable experience according to Yang. “Everything is moving very quickly on the Hong Kong Island side but you can take your time to enjoy a slow tram ride. The tram goes through the old districts and modern buildings, demonstrating a rich cultural landscape,” Yang explained. “A city changes and evolves when time passes but what doesn’t change here is the Hong Kong spirit of people striving for better every day. So, take a tram ride and slow down the pace, take a look at the city along the ride and maybe it can strike a chord in you.”

Empty streets with dazzling lights give a taste of cyberpunk

Colin Lau

Lau believes taking photos at night is a unique Hong Kong experience because the night scene in Hong Kong is found nowhere else. There is more worth capturing in the city than just the famous neon lights and harbour views. “It is special to look at the city even later in the night when the streets are empty. Empty streets with dazzling lights give a taste of cyberpunk,” Lau said.

Hong Kong is a unique place to take photos that exude a ‘futuristic-city-in-movies' vibe. But Hong Kong also offers unparalleled views of nature and Lau enjoys capturing Hong Kong’s great outdoors as well.

Wong recommends taking pictures at the harbour because of the backdrop. “I would recommend the harbour for photo-taking because the background is cleaner and the photo will turn out better,” he explained. He is particularly satisfied with a picture he took that captured the Star Ferry in the middle of the harbour accentuated by the light. “This is a picture I really like because the light beam shining on only the Star Ferry is not a common scene. You need to pay special attention to the environment in order to capture this moment,” Wong said.

 

Travelling around Hong Kong with your camera is a great way to explore the city. Discover more sides of Hong Kong and craft your own unique experience.

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