An Inside Look at Fan Ho’s New Photo Book

  • Coolie and the Kids.

    Coolie and the Kids.

  • Fan Ho's work often portrays solitary figures, as in this image, Back Lane.

    Fan Ho's work often portrays solitary figures, as in this image, Back Lane.

  • Sampans along the hazy Victoria Harbor waterfront, as pictured in Dream of Old Hong Kong, an image shot by Fan Ho in 1957.

    Sampans along the hazy Victoria Harbor waterfront, as pictured in Dream of Old Hong Kong, an image shot by Fan Ho in 1957.

  • A rickshaw driver crossing Central's tramlines in 1966 is pictured in End of the Day.

    A rickshaw driver crossing Central's tramlines in 1966 is pictured in End of the Day.

  • Newly montaged photographs from 1966 appear in Life Goes On.

    Newly montaged photographs from 1966 appear in Life Goes On.

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Call it selective memory, but there is something dreamlike about the way we recall places we love as they once were. A master at the art of capturing this is Fan Ho, one of Asia’s most accomplished photographers and film directors. Born in Shanghai but raised in Hong Kong from 1949, Ho, now 83, began his career as a teenager, documenting life on the streets of the then British colony in the 1950s and ’60s through the lens of his Rolleiflex camera. It’s images from this period that fill the last installment of his trilogy of photography books about the city, Fan Ho: A Hong Kong Memoir (Modernbook Editions), some previously unpublished, and some created by combining two black-and-white negatives into one image for a result far more about feelings than facts. —Gabrielle Lipton

This article originally appeared in the February/March print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Mid-Century Memories”)

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