During my recent stay in Hong Kong, I was able to capture some of the everyday goings on as well as document the two-day ceremony. Of course, this is just a tiny slice of life in Hong Kong. I could probably spend decades photographing within its 1,104.4 sq. km boundary and still only cover a fraction of what goes on. So, for now, here’s a little something which you may not have seen before; a little less of the glitz and glamour, a little more of its inhabitants.
I’m by no means a religious person, but there’s something irresistibly quaint about beliefs and tradition within Chinese culture. No matter where in Hong Kong you go, if you look hard enough you’ll find something that points to some sort of religion or tradition. It might be as obvious as a 112-foot bronze Buddha which can be seen from miles away, temples hidden in amongst the hi-rises, shrines in the streets and people’s homes, banyans designated as wishing trees laden with wishes tied to oranges, fortune telling through divination or the practice of ancestor worship. I can’t help but to find it endearing that such things can exist within a society saturated with hi-tech.
One of Hong Kong’s interesting characteristics is its 300,000+ population of live-in domestic helpers from mostly the Philippines and Indonesia. Due to the busy and time demanding work lives of their employers, the domestic helpers who typically look after the household and any children apart from Sundays when they all get the day off. You may be wondering just what 300,000 people who are mostly housebound during the rest of the week do on their day off. Well, they get together where ever they can and enjoy themselves much like how you or I might, but Hong Kong isn’t a place where space is plentiful. So, some public spaces within the city tend to see a sudden surge in population each weekend…
Hong Kong at night is one of the most amazing time and places to be. Public transport and the retail/leisure industry keep going until late evening which means it’s easy to get around. With vast amounts being invested into the tourism sector (e.g. the famous Symphony of Lights show which runs daily at 8pm) there’s always plenty to see and do. It’s also a very safe place to walk around with expensive camera equipment which means more time and effort spent on photography and less on worrying about being robbed.
I’ve just finished uploading the photographs which form Consecration; my documentary project based upon the events of a two-day ceremony to commemorate the completion of a new ancestral hall in my family’s village in Hong Kong. You can view the gallery over at http://www.digitalrelish.net/galleries/consecration/.
A subset of these photographs were recently exhibited as part of the Look2011 International Photography Festival hosted in Liverpool.