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Approaching Shadow 1954 from “The Living Theater” 2009

Fan Ho passed away this summer. He inhibited a special sensitivity for light, lines and composition, something he expressed already as a 14-year old when his father gave him his first Rolleiflex-camera. This was in a 1950s Hong Kong – when Fan Ho’s family, along with millions of other Chinese, in 1945, fled following the creation of the Peoples Republic China with Mao as its foreman. Due to its British colony status, the city experienced a huge growth in trade and industry. Fan Ho roamed around this seaport with his camera – a city in a constant span between East and West – communism and capitalism.

The consciousness of modernity. His youth spent as a roaming photographer resulted in a large collection of photographs which were exhibited and distributed in salon exhibitions and photo competitions across China and abroad, and he won several prizes. There was also a huge number of unpublished negatives, which Fan Ho retrieved when he, at the age of 75, retired from a long career in the film industry, and decided to take up photography again. This resulted in two books being published on his Hong Kong period: Hong Kong Yesterday (2006) which focused on shapes and shadows, and where people appear as silhouettes in a composition piece; and Living Theater (2009) which reflected the way he viewed the world; as a stage where the theatre of life is played out. With his eye for light and dynamic composition, he uses the photographic surface to frame potential stories.

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Construction, 1957

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