City Weekend

Property manager turned photographer recreates Hong Kong night scene in Lego form

Ric Tse has been capturing his playful interpretations of Hong Kong since 2009 and recently shared his latest project with his 40,000 Facebook fans

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 August, 2017, 1:33pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 August, 2017, 1:33pm

A Hong Kong property manager who moonlights as a photographer has recreated his home city’s iconic Victoria Harbour night scene using classic children’s toy, Lego.

Ric Tse, 39, who has been capturing his playful interpretations of Hong Kong since 2009, recently shared his latest project of the view from Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront with his 40,000 Facebook fans.

The scene features various detailed elements made from Lego, including tourists taking selfies; artists painting portraits; a travel company leading a tour; maintenance workers fixing a lamp and a food truck owner selling snacks.

There is even a professional photography stand offering portraits of tourists, which Tse has created with tiny Photoshopped images of Lego characters.

The father-of-one said he hoped the image, which is now among the prints he sells online, would strike a chord with both locals and tourists.

“I love the night scene even more than the day scene because I think it is just beautiful, whereas in the daytime it is misty due to the air pollution” he said. “I would say this night scene is in the top three for Hong Kong.”

Tse, who lives with his wife Daisy and three-year-old son in Ma Wan, said he first started photographing Lego after his wife found a box of Lego bricks during an annual spring-clean.

He originally created a daytime shot of the harbourfront for his first project in 2009, in which he featured a tourist carrying a Photoshopped fashion magazine with his wife’s portrait on the cover in a bid “to cheer her up”.

Earlier this year, he became the talk of the town for his ingenious Lego series “Batman Saves the City”. His photos of the superhero coming to the rescue in a variety of funny scenarios, published to mark the release of the Lego Batman Movie (2017), were a worldwide hit. His Facebook fans subsequently quadrupled and he accumulated new followers as far afield as Mexico and Italy.

In July, he published his first book Legography, which is a guide to his imaginative Lego scenes that incorporate 40 Hong Kong foods.

The book, which is currently only in Chinese, features lighthearted portraits of chefs appearing to assemble ingredients for a dim sum feast, and soldiers firing curry fish balls from a cannon.

Tse, who admits he was not a huge Lego fan when he started his hobby, said he spends about two to three weeks creating one picture, including using Photoshop to enhance the image.

“With the new book, the sales have not been bad; so far, so good,” he said. “I would like to get it translated into English for a second edition too. Most people in Hong Kong prefer to read instructive books, which is why I chose to include instructions for how people can set up their own scene. But there are still so many Hong Kong foods I could include; I might spend another six months working on a second book.”

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Since developing an online following, Tse has been asked to promote Lego products specific to Hong Kong, including the iconic clock tower in Tsim Sha Tsui.

He said he remains bemused by the increasing popularity of his work, which he largely attributes to the power of social media.

“If there was no social media, then my work would not have been publicised to this extent and galleries would not have picked it up,” he said. “In the old days, I would not have had this kind of response; I am just a part-time photographer. When I started this project, I did not do it for the money, but of course I am enjoying it.”