Reflecting spirit of the times

Works through the decades, from early studio prints to contemporary photos, illuminate those stories

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 September, 2012, 9:42am

A picture is worth a thousand words. And nothing captures more than portrait photography. A portrait may be just a fleeting instant in the life of its subject, but it also tells the story of society and culture, reflecting the spirit of its time.

A Hong Kong Heritage Museum exhibition, entitled "Hong Kong Photography Series 3: Beyond the Portrait", will offer the public an opportunity until November 26 to view local portrait photographs taken over decades, illuminating the stories behind the pictures.

The exhibition will showcase works from early studio prints to contemporary photos. A total of 18 photographers reflect their approach to portrait photography, as well as illustrating the development of this art form in Hong Kong.

The exhibition consists of four areas - Portraits of the Society, Artistic Portraits, Family Portraits and Self Portraits - to provide different perspectives on the study of portrait photography. It shows the various approaches used by artists, becoming, in effect, an in-depth study of photography through the decades.

The exhibition zooms in on the works of 18 veteran and young photographers. They are Chan Chik, Lo So-man, Richard Yee, Lau Pok-chi, Alfred Ko Chi-keung, Almond Chu Tak-wah, Holly Lee, Vincent Yu Wai-kin, Leon Suen Shu-kwan, Bobby Yip, Ting Chan, Wong Suk-ki, Jimmy Chan Yu-wo, Dick Lai Chun-ling, Lau Chi-chung, Ada Hung Chuk-kwan, Liu Ngan-ling and Stella Tsoi Sum-yi. The exhibition is co-curated by guest curators Wong Wo-bik, Yvonne Lo , Lukas Tam and the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

The guest curators' research for this exhibition led them to the Immigration Department and the Police Museum to look for early photographs of convicts or photographs from Hong Kong Identity Cards issued in the 1930s, to find out how these pictures were taken.

The exhibits also include interesting bric-a-brac collected from photography studios and images from the front covers of popular magazines. Insightful articles have been written by art researchers specifically for the exhibition. All these related materials and photographs are in a catalogue, providing an invaluable resource for the study of portrait photography in Hong Kong.

"Beyond the Portrait" is the third exhibition in the Hong Kong Heritage Museum's Hong Kong Photography Series, following "The Verve of Light and Shadow" in 2009 and "City Flâneur" in 2010.

The Hong Kong Heritage Museum is at 1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin. It opens from 10am to 6pm on Mondays and Wednesdays to Saturdays, and from 10am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. The museum is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays).

Admission to the exhibition

is HK$10, with a half-price concession available for full-time students, senior citizens and the disabled. Admission is free on Wednesdays.