A little over a year ago I spent an intense 24 hours in Hong Kong as a solo, first-time tourist. Last month I returned to Honkers for about 10 days with my family and a couple of extra cameras in tow.
I love Hong Kong. When you begin to wonder why people forgo a quiet rural life for life in a big city, Hong Kong answers that question. Despite the noise and the crowds and the air so thick you sometimes feel like a goldfish inside a dirty bowl, the city overflows with seemingly limitless enthusiasm. It’s a city that makes you feel as if anything is possible given enough time and effort.
For us, every day in Hong Kong was a different and sometimes exhausting adventure; not all of them documented in photographs. Like the day my younger daughter left her backpack on the number 8 bus, which I failed to retrieve despite a frantic sprint and several language-challenging taxi rides. The same day I gave up trying to retrieve a backpack containing little more than a hat and some food and arranged to rejoin my family at Kowloon Park, only to discover much later there are several parks with similar names and I’d been wandering aimlessly around the wrong one for what seemed like half the day. And yet, that day I lost my religion was the same day I enjoyed one of the best dining experiences of my life.
Photographically, Hong Kong can be challenging. While there are plenty of interesting photographic opportunities, most of the city’s people are pointedly camera shy, making street photography difficult compared to other big cites. Candid shots from afar are easy. Engaging close-ups of people are not, and most of the few street portraits I created during my time there didn’t make the cut.
It’s been almost two weeks now since we returned to Sydney, settling the girls into school for the year ahead and planning our next family adventure. While looking forward to the weddings I’ll be shooting this year, I keep finding myself daydreaming about our time in Hong Kong. About our adventures. About the places, the food and the people. About the mix of old and new. And about the many layers both of history and physical space. I’m not sure when, but I suspect I’ll be back there one day soon.