Camera focuses on family ties

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2007, 12:00am

A local artist hopes to strengthen family bonds through his old-fashioned pinhole camera.

Luke Ching Chin-wai, an artist-in-residence with the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, will conduct a family photo-taking session at Hong Kong Park on Sunday.

While most people prefer digital cameras because of their convenience and hi-tech features, Ching thinks his pinhole camera can capture the most intimate moments of a family.

'In the past, a visit to the studio to take a family photo was a big event. Men would be dressed in suits and women would wear formal dresses,' Ching said.

'The older generation treasure those faded photos with the parents sitting in the front and sons and daughters standing in the back.

'Today, digital cameras are so convenient that people can take tonnes of photos at a single event. Amid heaps of digital pictures, the value of each photo is lost.'

Using a pinhole camera since 1999, Ching has developed a profound love for this form of photography.

Despite the technological shortcomings of pinhole cameras, Ching still prefers to take pictures the old-fashioned way.

'The exposure time of pinhole cameras is much longer. The subject has to stay motionless in front of the camera for several minutes. If a child moves at the moment the shutter clicks, the family picture will become blurry,' Ching said.

'Although the image may not be perfect, it speaks volumes about the family's relationship as they need to stand together in front of the camera for a long time.'

During his tour of Japan in 2006, Ching set up his pinhole camera at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and took pictures of Japanese families.

'The long photo-taking session is a valuable chance for a family to be together in today's fast-paced world,' he said.

Those who want to attend Sunday's family photo-taking session can call 2521 3008 for bookings.

All family members must be present. Admission is free and walk-ins are also welcome.

The photos will be displayed at the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre and returned to the families after the exhibition.