On the Move in Hong Kong

February 22, 2016 2016年2月22日

Although Chow San works mainly as a graphic designer, he has a camera with him everyday and shoots regularly. His street photos seem to capture people often in transit and on the move in his native Hong Kong. One rather gets the sense that his photos document fleeting moments from an ephemeral world. In this restless and fast-moving world, the people in it seem always to be moving from one destination to the next.


Perhaps because of the constant need to deal with digital media for work, Chow San prefers instead to shoot with film. One of his heroes is the great Nobuyashi Araki. San tells us that, even though today there are many new photographers out there, for him it is worth reexamining Araki’s output in greater detail – such is the depth and ingenuity of his work. Read more about Chow San’s work in our recent interview with him below.


Neocha: What kind of spaces do you like to photograph? What kind of lighting do you prefer?

Chow San: Actually any kind of space is suitable for shooting, whether it is in an office or just on the street. A lot of the times, I just shoot the daily commute on the subway, which is more or less because of my routine. I hope that the lighting in my photos is fairly even – it helps with the storytelling aspect. I don’t like to use flash, or to art direct my shots. The lighting shouldn’t be too forced or contrived.

Neocha: 你喜歡在什麼樣的空間裡拍攝?傾向於用什麼樣的光線?

周生: 其實任何地方都可拍攝,辦公室如是,街道上如是。很多時候我的相片是在地鐵的路途上拍攝的,因為工作的關係吧。我希望相片在光線上分佈可以強烈,會較有故事性。但我不愛用閃光燈,也不善長於設計相片。所以我覺得光線不可強求。

Neocha: What are your thoughts on film versus digital?

Chow San: Actually eventhough there are probably more benefits to shooting digital, I personally think digital photography feels quite cold. Film photography for me feels more satisfying. It just feels warmer and has more human qualities, which for me, is similar to how a human being has a body and soul.

Neocha: 你怎麼看待菲林和數碼?

周生: 其實數碼拍攝優點大於菲林拍攝,但數碼給我感覺很冷漠,菲林攝影感覺上整件事比較「完滿」和人性化,好像一個人般有靈魂和驅體一樣。

Neocha: How does Hong Kong inspire you?

Chow San: There really are too many things here in Hong Kong that are inspiring. You can say that there are a lot of interesting social issues here; for example, the relationship between people here in Hong Kong and trees is rather strange. This subject inspired me to shoot my project Together.

Neocha: 香港給予你什麼樣的啟發?

周生: 香港這個地方,太多東西令你有啓發,可能社會上太多問題了。例如在香港人與樹木的闗係是比較奇怪的。這個闗係吸引我拍攝了「共處」了這主題。

Neocha: What are some challenges you face as an artist?

Chow San: In a material, capitalist society like Hong Kong, it is really difficult to make a living as an artist. The government doesn’t help us or give us any kind of aid. The common consumer tends to appreciate art that is just visual appealing or trendy, but then just about ignores everything else. In Taiwan, and even in the mainland, you can see more high-level art.

Neocha: 哪些是你作為藝術家所面臨的挑戰?

周生: 在香港功利主義裏要靠藝術創作生活是艱難的,政府也不會幫助我們。在觀眾層上,我覺得香港人欣賞藝術創作必然要視覺衝擊和潮流這些重要因素,忽略了其他。反觀台灣甚至大陸也有很多高水準藝術創作。

Neocha: What are some things that you have planned in the near future?

Chow San: I’m now looking for a new exhibition space. Last year, I gained a lot of experience after my first solo exhibition Flower at Yi Hu. The next one, Ja Yen Mo Cheung, will compile six to seven years of my photography work. I hope in a few years’ time I’ll have the chance to publish an album of all this work.

Neocha: 近期有什麼計劃嗎?

周生: 尋求合適展覽場地。去年在藝鵠第一次個展「花期」展覽得到很多經驗。「雜影無章」是大約6至7年时间内我的拍摄作品,希望幾年後有機出版自己的「雜影無章」影集。



Contributor: Leon Yan



供稿人: Leon Yan