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Fan Ho in San Francisco, California in November 2014 | Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Fan Ho in San Francisco, California in November 2014 | Courtesy of Themes+Projects
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Old Hong Kong Through The Lens Of Photographer Fan Ho

Picture of Sally Gao
Updated: 28 December 2016
Fan Ho was one of the most influential Asian photographers of the 20th century. Famous for his iconic photographs of Hong Kong street life in the 1950s and 60s, he won almost 300 awards over the course of his career; collections of his work remain housed in museums across the globe.

Ho passed away on June 19, 2016, in San Jose, California at the age of 84. Born in Shanghai in 1931, he moved with his family to Hong Kong in 1949 to flee the Nationalist-Communist Civil War in the mainland. The young Ho quickly developed an interest in taking photographs of the streets, alleys and markets of Hong Kong’s Central district.

The images he captured of Hong Kong over the next two decades remain iconic images of the city to this day. Ho was known for his romantic use of light and shadow, lending his images a famously dreamlike, meditative quality.

Ho once said of his photography: ‘You must have the precise moment to catch the spirit, the essence, the soul of the person… If you don’t have the exact moment, you have to wait for the right feeling. It’s real creative work because you have to have the feeling inside’.

Childhood (1959) | © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Childhood (1959) | © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Danger (1965)| © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Danger (1965) | © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
W (1959) | © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
W (1959) | © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Between Showers (1962) | © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Between Showers (1962) | Courtesy Themes+Projects
Mother's Helper (1967)| © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Mother’s Helper (1967) | © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Sun Rays (1959) | © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Sun Rays (1959) | © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Evening in Aberdeen (1958)| © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Evening in Aberdeen (1958) | © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Pattern (1956)| © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects
Pattern (1956) | © 2016 Fan Ho Estate/Courtesy of Themes+Projects