Photo credit: Jaume Escofet
A photographic playground, Hong Kong, or “Fragrant Harbour”, is known as one of the world’s most populous cities. But this is where you also find some of the most delectable food, and where skyscrapers co-exist side by side with Buddhist and Taoist temples. Hong Kong traditions and culture are some of the most ancient and intriguing anywhere in the world and a visit to this city is a truly invigorating and always entertaining experience.
Here we showcase the work of five photographers showing us their different perspectives of Hong Kong traditions and culture.
Jérémy: “It’s fascinating how Hong Kong traditions and culture combine with modernity, immediately drawing you to the density of this multicultural city. I spent long days losing myself in the labyrinthine streets, filled with the intricate architecture of buildings up to 50 stories high, sometimes resembling a tetris puzzle.
“The scarcity of land is apparent everywhere, but the wonders of modern architecture give a new urban appeal to Hong Kong’s renowned cityscape. Hong Kong has a sophisticated feel to me – it is easy to fall in love with this city.”
How the locals live
Michelle Robinson: “This photograph was taken in the area called Yau Ma Tei, also known as “Waterloo”, in the Kowloon District of Hong Kong. The wet market, which has long been an integral part of Hong Kong traditions and culture, and the surrounding area was suggested to me by locals as I wanted to explore the areas frequented by locals as part of their daily lives.
“I took the photo as I was standing at a crossroads in the market and in order to get an idea of how densely packed the area is, I raised my iPhone in the air. I was informed that I was fortunate that the market was not particularly busy that day. It was my hope to capture the feel and the everyday lives of locals.”
Rich ancient traditions
Cheryl Chan: “Hong Kong, not only is the Pearl of the Orient, but also an assemblage of cultures – her British colonial history, only to be complimented with her Chinese roots. Besides the vibrant modern city facade, the underlying Chinese heritage is definitely a jewel for travellers. One of the colourful Chinese traditions — the Ghost Festival —or Yu Lan, is celebrated in various locations and has become part of Hong Kong traditions and culture. Taking place in the seventh month of Lunar calendar, often in the summer heat of August, it is regarded as the Ghost Month, where ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm to be fed.
“Seen in this photo is the praying altar where monks will chant for the relief of wandering spirits. The eerie yet colourful event is carried out for 14 days and is the best opportunity for photography lovers to capture the beliefs of Chinese culture. Personally I have been to this event for the past three years, and every year there are new angles for me to explore, from the worshipers to the offerings, the scary beliefs to traditional practices – it never ceases to surprise.”
Spiritual encounters with 10,000 buddhas
Florian Rohart: “Only a few meters from the great and famous Big Buddha on Lantau Island, the Po Lin Monastery is as peaceful as it is impressive and a key example of Hong Kong traditions and culture. Inside, 10,000 magnificent and ornate buddhas await to be contemplated. The perfect symmetry of this photo reflects on the monastery atmosphere of greatness and spirituality. This one day trip from Hong Kong was the highlight of my stay; it was the perfect contrast to the bustling cosmopolitan city. This is such an an astounding city, perched midway between western and oriental: it simply has it all.”
Luca Luk: “Hong Kong may be congested, but it is also one of the great modern cities of the world. A lesser known side to Hong Kong traditions and culture is portrayed in this image: the old fishing culture of Hong Kong. It seems to have been forgotten but there’s still evidence of Hong Kong’s early days as a fishing village.
“Today Victoria Harbour contains around 600 traditional Junk boats, where many locals eat, sleep, work and live. With the economic boom, the people of Hong Kong have mostly transitioned to other, better paying jobs, and the fishing village is fading into silence. The Junk is highly symbolic and a precious representation of Hong Kong’s past as a group of small fishing villages.”
Copyright notice: All images in this article are copyright protected and must not be used for any purpose without prior consent from the photographer.
When in Hong Kong, Chic Collection recommends staying at: