Hongkong: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

In the past week, I spend 8 days and 9 nights in Hongkong. If you’re looking for a good collection of Hongkong travel tips and suggestions, I suggest you visit China Highlights with tips from Hongkong residents and the everlastingly great Lonely Planet collection. In this article, I’m rather talking about Hongkong from a photographer’s perspective. A more in depths collection of travel experiences will come later when the analogue pictures have been developed. For now, I can only present you the digital shots I made and which have partially already been published on my Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram.

To be honest, my feelings about this city are a bit ambivalent. This is due to two facts:
1) the weather was just terrible during the whole week, which made it nearly impossible at times to take photos at all
2) I have the impression that Hongkong tends to be a bit overhyped
These two aspects made taking photos a bit more complicated than expected.

Due to the bad weather, it was really hard not just to find a good film for the camera (meaning a film that would be able to deal with quickly changing dark and light scenery), but also to simply not let any damage happen to the gear. Rain in Hongkong is different from the rain in Europe, which means that masses of water were pouring down in an amount I’ve only seen in Taiwan before. I’m guessing this must have been monsoon rain. Sometimes it wouldn’t even be possible to leave the hostel just to get a pineapple bun from the bakery next door without ending up soakingly wet. If you’re a photographer and you’re planning to get the best out of your photographic travel experience, I suggest you do it more thoroughly than I did and pick a month that promises less rain.

Now, to my second criticism. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to bash on Hongkong. It is a fabulous place for street photography. Quickly changing sceneries, masses of people, vibrant colours and lights, a good selection of photography shops, brilliant architecture and a nice mixture of postmodernist urban landscape and green nature surrounding the city. However, commercialization has taken a lot of the city’s individuality and at times it is nearly impossible to say, whether you’re in Hongkong, Shanghai or NYC. Which makes it for me very hard to get a grip of the city and thus realize what I would not just like to capture on film but also what I’d like to express with my pictures. Of course, there are many of outstanding aspects about Hongkong when you know where to find them. I personally would have wished for a little more Hongkong and a little less Guccipradablingbling. In the end, as a photographer, you don’t just want to take pictures that people have already seen before and before, but create your own work that reflects your perception of the city. For me, this was hard as my perception was dominated my shopping malls

I guess what I am trying to say is the following: Hongkong is a great city for aspects such as street photography, delicious food, shopping. Espec Tsim Sha Tsui and the smaller suburbs. However, if you’re coming from a place far away and would like to experience something more Asian, I suggest you pay Hongkong a visit (if you want to) but travel on after 2-3 days. That said, whever you are and wherever you’re going, I hope you’re having a wonderful time!

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