A Unique Look At Hong Kong In The 1950s Captured By A Teenager

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These stunning photographs of Hong Kong in the 1950s were captured by Fan Ho – who was still a teenager when he arrived from Shanghai in 1949. Soon after arrival, he became fascinated by Hong Kong’s busy streets filled with vendors, hawkers and rickshaw drivers.

While shooting in a studio was the norm back then – he was more interested in random, candid shots of passersby. His subjects did not always smile into the lens of his camera. But that is what makes this great street photography, giving us a unique peek into Hong Kong’s daily life at that time.

These photographs are a true treasure trove, showing us a fascinating reminder of how much has changed compared to the Hong Kong of today.

Childhood, 1959
Childhood, 1959
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Approaching Shadow, 1954

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Her Study, 1956
Her Study, 1959

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Man carrying a box, 1959
Man carrying a box, 1959

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In the past few years, Fan Ho revisited negatives from the Hong Kong era that were never printed. By physically holding up two negatives up to the light, Fan Ho would play with composition. Once he created something that pleased him, he would place the sandwiched negatives on the scanner and montage them.

Road To Uncertainty
Road To Uncertainty, 1956
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Crossing the street, 1957

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Today, Fan Ho is an award-wining photographer who has won 280 awards from international exhibitions and competitions worldwide since 1956. Ho has been elected Fellow of the Photographic Society of America, Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, England; Honorary Member of the Photographic Societies of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Singapore and etc, and was honored with One-Man-Shows in the above countries.

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The Search, 1960
The Search, 1960
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Hong Kong Slum, 1955
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Patterns, 1959

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Mothers Helper, 1967

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A Day is Done, 1958
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Private, 1960

Forget Me Not, 1948/2012

If you’d like to see more of Fan Ho’s work, be sure to pick up his book “A Hong Kong Memoir

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