Bleu is the colour for Hong Kong-based French photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, who first became fascinated by the city’s twilight “blue hour” after moving here in 2009.
His latest pictures showing Hong Kong at dusk were featured in the “An Invitation to Travel: Blue Hour, Hong Kong Overseas” exhibition, at Kong Art Space in SoHo, last week, hosted by Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin, to coincide with the launch of its six new Overseas collection timepieces.
Vacheron Constantin commissioned Jacquet-Lagrèze – who began taking twilight images of the city for his project, The Blue Moment, in 2015 – to take a series of new blue-laced pictures around the city.
All eight images were photographed during the short 10- to 15-minute “blue-hour” period that occurs in the city each day during the summer months.
“The challenge is that the ‘blue hour’ happens in summer, from May to September, and that’s the hottest season in Hong Kong,” Jacquet-Lagrèze said.
“It only lasts for 10 to 15 minutes every day, so you can’t take all the photos [in one go].
“[It is] when the city’s light and natural blue light blend perfectly.
“It creates a magical feeling and everything is balanced. I found it meaningful. It is so treasurable – the transition between day and night.”
His pictures were taken over a two-month period at Devil’s Peak, Cape D’Aguilar, near Shek O, Peel Street, Tai O, Shing Mun Reservoir, Ngong Ping, Ha Pak Nai, in Yuen Long, and Tamar Park.
He said the images reflected Hong Kong’s city life, nature, heritage and serenity.
Some of the pictures, featuring a man and a woman wearing new Overseas timepieces, aimed to highlight the new collection’s adventurous spirit of travel.
Although it might it might be difficult for people to recognise particular places in Jacquet-Lagrèze’s earlier images taken for The Blue Moment project, he said the new series of pictures was more location-based and also featured a lifestyle approach.
“I see [An Invitation to Travel: Blue Hour, Hong Kong] more as an extension of my previous series,” he said. “This one is about discovering different locations and makes people want to discover by themselves.
“I’m happy with the opportunity to collaborate with Vacheron Constantin, otherwise I wouldn’t have discovered locations like Cape D’Aguilar and Ha Pak Nai.”
Though Jacquet-Lagrèze is not a watch collector, he said he is captivated by the mechanics that goes in to making watches and also by the similarity between watches and photography.
“I’m very interested in the mechanics, more than owning one,” he said. “It resembles the mechanics of photograph; it’s all about using technology to create something artistic, and knowing the technology is essential. You can’t be a watch collector [just] because it’s beautiful. You must love the mechanics behind it, too.”
The six new Overseas watches are fitted with an interchangeable stainless steel bracelet, alligator leather strap and rubber strap, so that they can be worn according to the different lifestyles of people. The watches, featuring a transparent sapphire crystal caseback, come in an all-steel model and a second two-tone model featuring a pink-gold bezel.