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This is the latest book project by celebrated photographer and film director Fan Ho, compiled from so far never seen images that were derived from his own archive of old original negatives.
The flow of images takes you on a journey that loosely travels from west to east of Hong Kong island, from the boat people through construction and modernisation and across the harbour to the Kowloon side, ending in the New Territories and the quiet waters of Hong Kong.
The selection of this new body of work feels more natural and closer to documentary compared to his previous highly stylised approach on street photography. In his own manifesto “Thoughts on Street Photography” which he wrote at the age of 28, and of which carefully selected quotes can be found throughout the book, he mentions: ‘My realistic street photos are rarely selected. Pictorial aesthetics and images with a sense of humour are still the key for salon photos but I expect changes to happen soon. In the meantime, I will just keep trying.”
In 2015 Fan Ho’s last dream started to materialise. Fan Ho selected about 500 old negatives from his own collection which he cropped in his signature style. After the very unfortunate event of his passing, it took another year for the project to be completed with the help of his family and Sarah Greene.
In addition to the images, the book begins with a touching foreword written by John Woo about his personal encounters with Fan Ho. The book also includes an essay by professor Joseph Fung. Fan Ho’s colourful life is summarised by Sarah Greene in the biographical notes at the hand of multiple conversations and recordings with the artist. ￼
This is Fan Ho’s last director’s cut. May this journey bring some good old memories of old bygone Hong Kong to all of us.
Fan Ho 何藩 (1931-2016)
Born in Shanghai in 1931, Fan Ho delved into photography at the early age of 10 when he started taking pictures witha Kodak Brownie camera his father had left behind. Later at the age of 18, his father bought him a twin lens Rolleiflex camera with which he took all his award-winning photographs.
In 1949,Fan Ho’s parents moved to Hong Kong,where the young Fan Ho continued pursuing his passion for photography, in particularly for street photography. Dubbed the “Cartier-Bresson of the East”,
Fan Ho’s works earned him close to 300 local and international photography awards and titles. His talent was discovered also by the film industry where he started out as an actor before moving into film directing until his retirement at age 65.
During his lifetime, Fan Ho taught photography and film-making at various universities worldwide. His works remain in private and public collections which, most notably, include that of M+ Museum (Hong Kong), Heritage Museum (Hong Kong), Bibliothèque National de France, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art (USA) and more.