With memory and imagination inextricably linked, although the former is more connected to reality than the latter, it is sometimes difficult to tell which parts of a memory are in fact real and which have been made up by our own minds. This is what immediately struck us whilst looking at these black and white compositions of Fan Ho, a celebrated 80-year-old photographer from Shanghai – in his images that seem to combine the fantastical with the real in seamless and nuanced photographic gestures. Mr Ho, who has been active as a photographer since the 1950’s, and has documented the details of urban life in Hong Kong as well as other destinations around the world, decided to revisit his extensive archive of unused negatives from the 1950’s and 60’s, to create minimal yet poignant compositions by layering different negatives and scanning them (with only a bit of editing in Photoshop at the end).
Named ‘Hong Kong Memoirs’, the compositions are not only full of the monochrome geometric order he is so well known for. They also explore the potential of combining different photos, thus bringing to life some very surreal scenes seen for example in the dense urban landscape that is Hong Kong, merged with serene Chinese lakes, or in his image of a crowded boat-city (seen in Hong Kong’s Aberdeen harbour) surreally transported to a landscape of untainted hills.
‘Hong Kong Memoirs’ will be exhibited at Modernbook Gallery (San Francisco) and AO Vertical Art Space (Hong Kong) starting end of October 2014. The exhibitions will be concurrent on two continents, San Francisco, California in North America and Hong Kong in Asia. During the exhibitions a brand new book will be published by Asia One and Modernbook.