Starbucks gives us memories of HK ... before Starbucks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 April, 2008, 12:00am


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There's something ironic about Starbucks sponsoring a nostalgic photo exhibit on the changing face of Hong Kong.

Celebrating its 100th store (opening on Hollywood Road) and eighth anniversary in town, the Anonymous Roots of Central opened on Tuesday at The Landmark. If anybody can be blamed for altering Central, Starbucks nears the top of the list. When the coffee chain arrived in 2000, it had a corner shop in Exchange Square. Now, its beverage brand has a stand on practically every corner in Central.

Ten artists were invited to share their perspective on the fast-changing district and none were more wistful than photographer Danny Chau Ting-kuen (below), who helped Chow Yun-fat put together his Louis Vuitton exhibition.

Having moved back to Hong Kong only two years ago from London, the 46-year-old photographer focused on fond places from his childhood.

'I used to play [on Pottinger Road] and when I went back there, it gave me a whole lot of memories back. This place probably hasn't changed since I left,' Chau reminisced. 'There's still an old Hong Kong that I can remember vividly.'

Chau's forte is to capture the street life of ordinary people, which can be difficult when people don't want to be photographed.

In London though, Chau had a sure-fire ploy to disguise his intention. 'People are a lot more aggressive there, so when I do street photography, I dress like a tourist, with a backpack and an 'I Love London' T-shirt ... otherwise you may get into trouble.' The exhibit ends on April 10.