HONG KONG.- 'Hong Kong Today' is a group exhibition of the contemporary photographers Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, Kwan Kam Cheong and Nick Poon. All three artists scan Hong Kongs intriguing cityscape albeit each with a very different outcome. Titled as 'Hong Kong Today' this exhibition reveals obscure and unseen sides of Hong Kong, and express both the charm and gloom of this metropolitan city.
Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze gained world-wide attention from his work Vertical Horizon in 2012. Originally from France, he was stunned by Hong Kongs architectural complexity. Compared to many low rise places in Europe, Hong Kong has an intense 3-D structure. Businesses and residential places are so fiercely built on top of each other, each lift in fact would deserve its own a street-name. Romain points at this unique phenomenon by shooting urban sceneries bottom up. In his latest series Wild Concrete, he focuses on nature sprouting from the most incongruous places of our dense urban environment. For over a year Romain hunted the city for these resilient bits of nature that were attempting to regain the city.
Kwan Kam Cheong, the overall champion of 1st Hong Kong Photo Book Awards, loves exploring the dark side of Hong Kong; Kowloon in the deepest of night. What originally started as a way to pass time between the end of his night shift and the arrival of the first day bus, became an obsession for young Kwan. In his work we encounter the creatures of night; the prostitutes, junkies, rats and moths captured with grainy black and white images.
Nick Poon was awarded the champion of 2nd Hong Kong Photo Book Awards. Unlike his occupation working in the advertising industry, the philosophy of his photography is to document how ordinary people are surviving in this unusual world. In this particular project, he zooms in to the impossible tiny shops and workplaces that provide the bread and butter for so many people in Hong Kong. Nick used nothing more than his iPhone to create this body of work.
Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze is a French graphic artist with a Masters in multimedia and art from East Paris University. His interest in photography began during a period of working in Los Angeles and Tokyo, and subsequently blossomed into a passion after his arrival in Hong Kong.
Stunned by its architectural race to the sky and resilience of nature, he felt the need to use his camera to share his feelings about the city. The geometry of the urban environment and the vivid lives it shelters are the aspects of Hong Kong that inspire him most.
Romains work has received attention from both local and international press such as South China Morning Post (HK), Herald Tribune (US), National Geographic (US), Lonely Planet (HK), El Pais (Spain), Figaro (France), Huffington Post (US), The Guardian (UK), Stern (Germany) and many blogs.
Kwan Kam Cheong
Kwan Kam Cheongs story is one of an insider. He didn't have the privilege of an expensive education, nor even an amateur photography course. He comes from a humble background and never knew his father. His mother, a hawker, died when he was four, leaving him alone with with his twin brother. He struggled at school and started to work at the age of 18 at a printing shop; an industry he is still involved with today.
Kwan's normal shifts are from 9pm to 6am, but sometimes he gets lucky and can leave earlier. After leaving the factory he usually has supper in Mongkok and then wanders the streets for hours. Since a night bus is a few dollars more expensive than a day one, he started taking photos a few years ago just to kill time. This steadily became a habit, and finally an obsession. On one day he walked so much his shoes fell apart.
Now, photography is a part of KC Kwan the one thing in life that gives him some dignity. In Hong Kong, if you have no degree, you are nothing, he says. Photography is a way to experience and see the cruel world. Cruelty is part of this world and our lives.
Many people own cameras, but few are photographers. Photography is about the way you perceive and feel the world and on those terms, KC Kwan is a true original. He is just a normal man, like so many other quiet workers in Hong Kong, but KC Kwan has a special talent an eye that does not flinch from the dark struggles of Hong Kong life.
Nick Poon was the Champion of the 2nd Hong Kong Photo Book Awards in 2013.
Poons interest in photography started when he was in secondary school, when he began experimenting with his fathers Nikon F2. After putting photography aside during his advertising career in the 1990s, Poons interest in the craft was unexpectedly reignited a few years ago when he spent an afternoon wandering the streets with a compact camera.
Largely self-taught (with the exception of a diploma in photography from the 1980s), Poon now shoots on the street on a daily basis, an increasingly with the specific theme or topic in mind. Later this has led him to document several facets of everyday life in Hong Kong. In 2012, he participated in a joint exhibition by four local street photographers entitled Photo Now, and went on to co-found a street photography group of the same name.