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City Weekend

Hong Kong-based photographer focuses on city’s beloved ‘ding dings’

Television cameraman who has covered major world news stories switches to photography at his first exhibition at Cyberport, with trams very much in the spotlight

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 April, 2017, 3:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 April, 2017, 3:19pm

A television cameraman who has travelled the world covering major international news events is making his first serious foray into the photography world with an exhibition about Hong Kong’s iconic trams.

Simon Fuller, from Melbourne, Australia, this week launched his exhibition “Ding Ding” at Cyberport 3 in Telegraph Bay.

The television colourist and production specialist, who has worked for the likes of Sky News, Al Jazeera and the BBC in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, aimed to capture the vibrant colours of what is perhaps the city’s most famous form of public transport.

He said he felt inspired to stage an exhibition after looking back on the photos he had taken since moving to Hong Kong three years ago and reflecting on the uniqueness of its trams.

“The first thing I knew about Hong Kong was that it was on the water and the second thing I knew was that it has trams,” he said.

“They are quite iconic; they are part of Hong Kong life. I’m not a tram watcher, but I commute to work by tram from Kennedy Town to Wan Chai. I would rather sit up on the top deck than ride the MTR. On the tram it is a very relaxing journey. You find that moment of silence that you rarely get in a big city.”

Fuller’s stand-out photograph in the exhibition, Tram Jam, shows an unusual bottleneck of trams one day in Johnson Road, Wan Chai, in which many of the tram colours coincidentally appear to match the buildings in the background.

For his collection, he has largely focused on the trams’ exterior to protect the privacy of passengers, although he said most were simply curious about his large camera.

He said he had become more focused on photography since relocating to Hong Kong because he considered it to be a “beautiful canvas” and hoped to hold more exhibitions in the future.

“It lends itself to photography,” he said. “Whereas in Singapore you can point the camera in multiple directions and get the same shot, that doesn’t happen in Hong Kong. There is not one particular area that I really like; I just enjoy getting lost in the city. I love the vibrancy that Hong Kong has.”

Hong Kong’s first fleet of single-deck trams was built in the UK and launched in 1904. Double-decker trams were introduced in 1912 due to passenger demand. They were open top, with the upper deck and one-third of the main deck reserved for first-class passengers. Light canvas roof covers were added in 1913 to protect against rain.

In 2017, the city’s trams incorporate elements of this traditional style while adopting modern features including ergonomic seats, CCTV and LED lights. At HK$2.30 per trip, they remain the cheapest form of transport and are used by about 185,000 people a day.

Ding Ding runs until April 7 at Cyberport 3. Visit Facebook for more information