Friday, November 27, 2020

Fan Ho's Bounded Light

One way to capture light is to surround it with darkness. 

The photographs of Fan Ho, who explored Hong Kong in the 1950s, often use this principle.

Within the area of light, the dark elements are lightened by backlit atmosphere. 

The light patch coheres as a single shape, with dark elements jutting into it.

The light enters the dark space and casts shadows from each of the forms.

The key figure appears backlit in the central region of light.  

If you follow around the outside border, it's almost all in deep shadow.

The charcoal fires and cigarette smoke made for bad air quality, but it was a gift to photographers.

When he introduces color into this scheme, it's a revelation.


Portrait of Hong Kong 念香港人的舊 

Magnum Contact Sheets  


Unknown said...

Fantastic post - thank you.The shapes of light are wonderful.

Unknown said...

Many thanks, James, stunning photo choices and lets us really see into and feel how people in Hong Kong lived.

Warren JB said...

Very much like these. Like real-life Doré engravings.