Lumenvisum Curator Tse Ming-chong on Bringing Hong Kong Together with Photography
The photographer is the founder of Lumenvisum, a photography/art gallery at the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre. He was recently commissioned by European Photography magazine to co-edit and curate an issue all about Hong Kong.
What is the story of Lumenvisum? Around 2006, we saw that digital photography was becoming more popular. As photographers and educators, we set up Lumenvisum to promote all aspects of photography. We thought we needed to do something to rouse the general public to pay attention to images, and we believed people could learn that they could use photos to express their feelings and communicate with others. It has always been the vision of Lumenvisum to try to promote contemporary Hong Kong photography.
What was the curation process for this exhibit? We talked to European Photography a year ago. We studied more than 100 photographers’ works, and held an open recruitment drive through Facebook. We received images from over 100 people. From these two resources, we selected the pieces we thought were the best. Then we found a theme: What does Hong Kong look like now?
What are these photographers communicating in their work? The photographers who grew up in Hong Kong are more concerned about their feelings towards their homeland. They express their own emotions towards the city, its social issues, and how it has changed over the past 20 years. Photographers from abroad are more interested in the exterior of the city—you’ll see some photographers focused on the buildings and the skyline.
As a longtime photographer in the city, what do you focus on? Most of my work has been concerned about the people and their living conditions. Not just in their daily lives, but psychologically and politically; the relationship between the people and the city itself, and how people react to the changes of the physical space and the political landscape of Hong Kong. This has been a longtime theme of my photography.
How has Hong Kong changed for you since you started shooting? Physically, the cityscape has changed. The things I experienced when I was young no longer exist. Every time I pass some place I used to go to, I have this feeling of loss. There’s always something new. Like the Star Ferry on Hong Kong side is a totally new experience. I need to find the connection between the present and the past through my photography.
What in this exhibit resonates with you in this way? One of the works that is quite close to this feeling is Dustin Shum’s work—he shot the public housing developments and their recent changes. Wei Leng-tay’s work also focuses on the living conditions of city dwellers and the relationships between family members and couples, from inside their homes.