Portraits of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of my favorite places for street photography.


One of my favorite things about this place is how much of the local economy happens out in the open. On every corner are people doing what they do daily to make a living, exposed to the view of everyday passersby. This attribute is also why this place is so wonderful for people watching.

The manager at Central on a break.

Cutting pipes on the sidewalk.

Delivery bike.

A restaurant owner surroudned by her notable visitors.

Loading packed cardboard into a dumpster.

Street stand with Schnauzer.

A woman roasting chestnuts.

The Butcher at Causeway Bay.

The last shot of the butcher is one of my personal favorites. It's one of the last photos I took that day as I cut through the Causeway Bay market to reach my hotel.

Candid portraits are by definition no longer candid when a subject notices the lens and interacts with it, either by a change in expression or engagement with the photographer. New Yorkers, for example, will change their expression, strike a pose at the moment, or confront me about taking their picture. Seldom do they carry on when they notice me.

But in Hong Kong, this break never happens. There's enough going on in the surroundings and the locals seemingly can't, won't, be bothered by any stimulus irrelevant to them. That includes the guy with the camera. And they can't be bothered even when there's nothing happening around them.

The butcher in the foreground never looked up, but his colleague in the back did take a cursory glance at me before carrying on with his thoughts.


Where there's work, there's also leisure. Retired pensioners, after long decades of work, represent this series of photographs well. There are more of them hanging out at the parks in the middle of a weekday when I'm around.

Poets and nappers.

A conversation held over coffee.

In transit. Face masks stayed after SARS left.

Reading the papers.

Meeting a friend.

Waiting in front of a popular dim sum restaurant.

My visit overlapped Chung Yeung, a public holiday. Most people get a day off to pay respect to their ancestors, hike hills, and drink chrysanthemum tea for good luck. I visit Ocean Park, a popular amusement park, on this day and it's absolutely packed with people.

Borrowing a shoulder.

A girl with a pink balloon at Ocean Park.

Watching the dolphin show at Ocean Park.

Couples tango at Victoria Harbor near the Avenue of Stars.