Fascinated by the rapid transformations, geometry and quaint structures of Hong Kong, Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze is a French fine art photographer who has managed to create a series of stunning photos that presents the blue hour of Hong Kong in all its splendor. Lasting approximately 40 minutes, blue hour is one of the most treasured periods of time for many photographers; it’s when the sun is at a certain distance below the horizon, and the indirect light passing through the atmosphere scatters, covering the land below in saturated shades of blue. Recently, Neocha sat down with Romain to talk about how he got started with photography and his favorite aspects of Hong Kong.
法國艺术攝影師Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze對香港快速的變遷，以及其建築展現的幾何學和獨特風情相當感興趣，並成功拍攝出一系列驚艷之作，全方位地展示出香港沐浴在“藍色時刻”中的迷人之景。 “藍色時刻”即指當太陽隱沒於地平線後，光線透過大氣層折射散漫開來，將大地籠罩於一層藍色薄霧之中，這持續約四十分鐘的時段是很多攝影師眼中最為珍視的黃金時間。近日，Romain新茶一起分享了他攝影之路的起步歷程以及他對香港最感興趣的部分。
Neocha: Can you share with us, what brought you to Hong Kong? After having such a successful background working in design and illustration, what propelled you to switch to fine art photography?
Romain: I was into web design and graphic design before coming to Hong Kong. I worked as a web designer in Tokyo back in 2009. It was during that time when I met my wife who is originally from Hong Kong. So I moved to Hong Kong knowing very little about the city. I was heavily impressed by it. Its atmosphere, its streets, its architecture – everything there felt inspiring to me. So I bought my camera and started shooting. I was just an amateur at the beginning. Little by little, I became more and more fond of the whole process of photography. I then started to work on my first photo series called Vertical Horizon, which swiftly went viral and put my work in front of a huge audience. Working with a local publisher, we released a coffee table book of that series and I’ve been exhibiting prints of the project since.
Romain: 來香港之前，我從事網頁和平面設計。 2009年在東京的時候，我還是個網頁設計師。就在那個時候，我遇到了我現在的妻子，她來自香港。所以後來我也搬到了香港，那時的我對這個城市幾乎一無所知。但這裡卻給我極大的震撼。香港的氛圍、街道和建築，無一不給以我靈感。因此我買來了相機開始了我的攝影之路。一開始這只是個業餘愛好，後來慢慢地，我對攝影的整個過程愈發沉迷。之後我開啟了自己的首次系列作品創作《Vertical Horizon》，並很快風靡於網絡，得到了大批讀者的關注。通過與一位當地出版商的合作，將這個系列的作品集結推出了一本精裝書，從此之後，我就一直在參與這個項目。
Neocha: What inspires and intrigues you the most about the city? What kind of beauty have you observed in this concrete jungle you live in now?
Romain: For me, the beauty of the city is in its raw and chaotic character. You can feel that Hong Kong has grown organically and extremely fast, which has led to some remarkable contrast between old and modern architecture. The topography of Hong Kong is also special. It’s a piece of land made up of many highlands and mountains. The landscape this city was built on forces it to develop itself within a small confined area. You can see an extremely dense pack of buildings lying in between the water and green mountains covered by greenery. I like the contrast between architecture, between city and nature. That’s what inspires me the most.
Neocha: What are your feelings about the blue hour? How rare is it to see in Hong Kong and how long did it take you to finish the project?
Romain: To me, the blue hour has a really magical atmosphere. Indeed, everyday at dusk you see daylight fading and street lights lightning up, until the moment when it is perfectly balanced. But the blue veil that envelops the city doesn’t appear every day. It’s actually quite rare in a city like Hong Kong, where the air is either too polluted or too misty to let the magic happen. You need some specific weather conditions for it. This kind of rarity makes the moment truly special. For this project, the most time-consuming part was not the actual shooting, but the scouting. Most of the photos were taken from residential buildings, so I needed time to get access and explore them. It took me roughly ten months of scouting and two months of shooting to finish this project.
Neocha: Are you most fond of architectural photography? What other series are you working on?
Romain: Indeed, architecture has been a big source of inspiration for me these past few years. My three main series Vertical Horizon, Wild Concrete and The Blue Moment are all directly or indirectly focused around architecture. I’m currently working on a few new projects, but it’s hard for me to determine which ones will be finished first. So let’s keep it a secret for now. What I can say for sure is that it will be about Hong Kong, a city that still has a lot untold stories.
Romain: 建築確實是我過去這幾年最大的靈感來源。我的三個主打系列作品《Vertical Horizon》、《Wild Concrete》以及《The Blue Moment》都直接或者間接地聚焦於建築。我最近正在著手一些新的項目，但現在還沒有決定先完成哪一件。所以暫時還是讓我先賣個關子吧。我能夠保證的是，那一定是關於香港的，這個城市還有很多鮮為人知的故事待人發現。