Wan Chai Market
Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled. --Mohammed.
Night photographs of the Wan Chai Market
This is a series of night photography I took with my Panasonic Lumix GF1 using a tilt-focus lens at the Wan Chai Market in Hong Kong, China, one of the most international and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Like many areas in Hong Kong, Wan Chai has a mix of modern and traditional. The market leans towards traditional. This street market is a typical place where the locals shop for a variety of household goods like china, clothing, and odds and ends. In addition, there're butcher shops, vegetable stalls, fruit stalls, and the like. The Wan Chai Market was constructed in 1937 and is located directly south of the Wanchai MTR station. Part of it is on Tai Yuen Street which is perpendicular to the Johnston Road along which the trams run in this part of Hong Kong Island. During japanese occupation, corpses were stored in the basement of the market. In 2007, the Urban Renewal Authority and the Development Bureau jointly announced that the facade and the front part of the historic market building will be preserved in the redevelopment project; the front part will be used as a shopping centre. A residential building will stand at the back of the market building. An excellent environment for street photography.
Some men go skimming over the years of existence to sink gently into a placid grave, ignorant of life to the last, without ever having been made to see all it may contain of perfidy, of violence, and of terror. -- Joseph Conrad.
When Sarah and I told people we were visiting Hong Kong, a special administrative region (SAR) of China, the advice we were given was to stay on the Island. Kowloon (on the mainland) is for tourists, we were told. Well, sort of. Like everywhere, it depends on where you go. We had the best dumpling soup on Man Yuen Street in Jordan where English was no where to be found, and, if Mong Kok is for tourists, then what to make of the new mall in Central on the Island? Although, that mall has the coolest Apple store I've seen. But skip the night markets in Kowloon. Those are for tourists in a very unappealing way, and Chungking Mansion no longer resembles the Hong Kong action flicks of the early 1990's. But definitely hit the Wan Chai Street Market on the Island.
Hong Kong was founded by Europeans, developed by Asians, governed by Chinese, designed and run by entrepreneurs, architects, economists, artists, and adventurers from the four corners of the world. As cliche as it sounds, Hong Kong is truly an exercise in contrasts. Not just economically but culturally and historically as well. Again, the Wan Chai Market is about as perfect as it gets for street photography.
Contrived photo shoots and intricately designed set-ups have never interested me, rather it is the uncertainty of street photography that continues to stimulate. The idea that I can leave the house one morning and come home at the end of the day with a photo that will be with me forever constantly drives and excites me. -- Jesse Marlow