Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence | 復甦生息、逆中求存、重振旗鼓
This exhibition’s photos show Hong Kong during consecutive periods, as it was seen around the middle of the last century. The images span some thirty years of great change: from the postwar recovery in 1946 – 1947, through the resilience of the 1950s, to the resurgence of the 1960s – 1970s. The photos were taken by three photographers. In the order of their Hong Kong work they were: Hedda Morrison, Lee Fook Chee and Brian Brake. Each had markedly different life backgrounds and photographic objectives.
Hedda Morrison’s Hong Kong photos, like her prior work in China and later images of Southeast Asia, reflected her high regard for ordinary people. Thus, in 1955 some of her photos were published in the classic, life celebrating New York photobook The Family of Man.
Brian Brake held similar values. But whereas Morrison photographed mostly separate images, Brake created highly crafted, pre-envisioned photo stories. His photo-led stories were widely published in many contemporary photo magazines, notably LIFE International and National Geographic.
Lee Fook Chee, as a person and photographer, was far different to Morrison and Brake. Lacking their comfortable origins, and also their photographic training, he harnessed his personal resolve and the ability to take photos for selling to tourists who visited Hong Kong.
Yet all three, in their own way, recorded Hong Kong during its modern, crucible decades – thus passing on to our present times the photographic heritage seen in this Asia Society Hong Kong Center exhibition.
Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence is curated by Edward Stokes who founded The Photographic Heritage Foundation.
本展覽的攝影作品活現香港在上世紀中期連續多個年代的面貌，展現歷時30多年的蛻變：從1946至1947年間戰後復甦生息，到1950年代逆中求存，1960至1970年代則重振旗鼓令舉世矚目。這些香港照片由三位攝影師執鏡，按年序排列依次為Hedda Morrison、李福志及Brian Brake，各自有不同的生活背景和攝影目標。
誠如Hedda Morrison早期在中國及後期在東南亞拍攝的作品，她的香港相片盡顯對平民百姓的愛戴和尊重。這些貼近生活的照片不少獲選刊登於紐約出版的The Family of Man，這冊經典影集收錄的作品專誠向生活致敬。
Brian Brake的信念與Hedda Morrison不謀而合，然而Morrison的作品多為獨立相片，而Brake則藉着連環影像說故事，透過精心鋪排構思，運用精湛的攝影技巧演繹。他的敘事式攝影作品曾獲多份當代攝影雜誌刊載，包括著名的《生活國際》及《國家地理》雜誌。
In 1946, Hedda Morrison arrived in Hong Kong. During the following six months she photographed almost every aspect of the colony, forming a diverse record time capsule of its postwar recovery. Morrison’s enduring passion was to record the lives of ordinary people and her photos reflect a masterful eyes. Some of these images were included in the government’s 1946 Annual Report. Photographer of vanished lives, postwar sojourner in Hong Kong.
Lee Fook Chee 李福志
Departing from Singapore as a seaman, Lee Fook Chee came ashore in Hong Kong in 1947. Lee absorbed the basics of photography at his cousin’s studio and became a journeyman photographer. During the 1950s he made his living on The Peak by taking and selling portraits. Later he mainly sold his Hong Kong photos, as seen in this exhibition. For him, self-respect and pleasure in doing useful work, his photography and photo selling, undoubtedly were life highlights.
Imbued during his teenage years by photography, Brian Brake arrived in Hong Kong at the end of 1957, after a six-month journey from London. Brake photographed widely here and gained international recognition in the golden era of photojournalism from the 1960s to 1970s. Commissioned by TIME-LIFE in the early 1970s, Brake recorded Hong Kong for its “The Great Cities” book series and captured the spirit of Hong Kong’s people with his perceptive and focused observations, abundant drive and talent.
在青年時代已醉心攝影，Brian Brake於1957年從倫敦出發周遊列國六個月，年底抵達香港。Brake以香港為基地，到處獵拍，並在1960至1970年代新聞攝影的黃金時代揚名國際。1970年代初他受時代生活出版社委聘拍攝The Great Cities系列香港篇的照片。憑着他的觸覺及敏銳眼光、無比衝勁和攝影天賦，他用鏡頭捕捉了港人的精神面貌。
Sheung Wan Street
Hedda Morrison’s centrally positioned, symmetrical photo highlights how these Western District buildings were crammed together – a fact accentuated by the closely set washing poles and signs. Ordinary Chinese, despite severe housing overcrowding, had a great desire for cleanliness – as the hanging washing suggests.
Des Voeux Road Tram
In Des Voeux Road, just east of Ice House Street, pedestrians amble across without a care. The tram system had survived the war, and in the late 1940s it was rejuvenated. But Hong Kong’s vehicles had been severely looted by the Japanese. In late 1946, records show just 1,450 registered cars, 195 taxis and 1,152 trucks.
Immediately after the war, a time of great need, street sellers like this woman had lives full of concern and uncertainty – as her wary, sharp-eyed expression perhaps suggests. The woman’s hair is secured with a bobby pin, a shawl does for the winter. Senior Service, Camel and Lucky Strike were popular cigarette brands.
Lee Fook Chee 李福志
Tanka Women Getting Water
Tanka women collecting fresh water from a shore hydrant. Carrying water to junks and sampans was mostly done by women and children. Besides their clothing and wicker hats, the women are notable for their broad feet: the result of lives spent barefooted due to poverty, and for steadier footing on boats’ moving decks.
Star Ferry Smoke
The old Hong Kong-side Star Ferry Pier, facing the elegant Edwardian buildings that then lined Victoria Harbour. A pre-war Star Ferry is berthing or departing, its engines belching diesel smoke. In the middle distance the General Post Office offers – CABLES. To the right a new-fangled neon light announces – COCA COLA.
Elegant Women on The Peak
Two elegantly dressed ladies pose on Victoria Peak. Central District lies far below. The photo must be from between late 1951 and early 1952 – since the Bank of China Building, opened in 1952, is nearing completion. The image is from Lee’s initial photographic period when he took portraits of tourists on The Peak.
The photo shows Chinese New Year – probably at the market in Reclamation Street, Mong Kok. Brake, as he did very well, has blended into the crowd. The tangerines – lucky gifts – are timeless. But the boy’s United States Navy sailor’s cap is likely from the 1960s or 1970s, when “USN” ships were often in port for “R and R”.
Aberdeen Aerial View
For his TIME-LIFE book Brake would have had an ample budget – thus aerial shooting was viable. This bird’s-eye view, also in early morning light, looks over Aberdeen, Ap Lei Chau and their anchorage. Ap Lei Chau’s flattened hills, and Aberdeen’s reclamation and housing estates, indicate the rapid pace of change.
The characters on the chef’s hat tell us that this is the Jade Garden Restaurant, a well-known Cantonese establishment. The dress suggests the photo is from the 1970s. Brake was observant and very fast. Here, he has captured each diner’s expression perfectly – and, using a wide-angle lens, portrayed the entire group.
As part of the exhibition, related programming is organized throughout the exhibition period. The aim is to provide an enriching experience, and deep dive into the inspiration and personal journeys of photographers Hedda Morrison, Lee Fook Chee and Brian Brake, and their historically significant and poignant images of Hong Kong in the 1940s-1970s.
為了提供更豐富的展覽資訊，以及方便觀眾深入瞭解三位攝影師 Hedda Morrison、李福志及 Brian Brake 的理念和個人經歷，中心將會於展覽期間提供一系列介紹《復甦生息、逆中求存、重振旗鼓》中照片與背後歷史意義的線上及現場活動。
Remembering and Storytelling Workshop Exhibition 留影故事工作坊展覽
May 22 – June 5
Annex, Chantal Miller Gallery
Following our Remembering and Storytelling photography workshop earlier this year, our Chantal Miller Gallery displays the images from workshop participants and workshop instructor Bobby Lee.
Thank you to Hewlett-Packard for sponsoring the photo printing.
Agatha Leung 梁呂智敏; Bobby Lee; CH Mak; David Young; Franco Chan 陳銘光 ; Johnny Gin; Kokoro; Katia Bacon; Kai Kong Wong; Myriam Lynch; Pauline; Richard Gordon; Terence Ku 古汝誠; Terrence Leung 梁國賢
Asia Society Hong Kong Center
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Former Explosives Magazine
9 Justice Drive Admiralty, Hong Kong
Last Thursday of the month: 11am-8pm
Closed on Mondays
Last admission 30 minutes before closing
Guided Tours 導賞團
We offer free regular guided tours in English and Cantonese to provide more visual insight into the works by Hedda Morrison, Lee Fook Chee and Brian Brake. The guided tours last can accommodate max. 12 people per tour on a first-come, first-served basis.
中心定時提供免費廣東話與英語展覽導賞團，名額最多 12 人，先到先得。導賞團大約一小時，以提供更多關於三位攝影師 Hedda Morrison、李福志和 Brian Brake 作品背後的故事。
14:30 English 英語
15:30 Cantonese 廣東話
14:30 English 英語
15:30 Cantonese 廣東話
Last Thursday of the Month 每月最後一個星期四
19:00 English 英語 / Cantonese 廣東話
Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence Exhibition Virtual Tour Introduction
Our Executive Director S. Alice Mong and exhibition curator Edward Stokes introduce our Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence exhibition that showcases Hong Kong's history over a span of three decades, 1940s-1970s, featuring photographs taken by Hedda Morrison, Lee Fook Chee, and Brian Brake.
Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence Exhibition Virtual Tour: Hedda Morrison, 1946-47
Our exhibition curator Edward Stokes highlights images by Hedda Morrison in our Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence exhibition. German-born Hedda Morrison’s 30 black-and-white photographs depict Hong Kong in 1946-1947, when she lived in the city for six months and photographed almost every aspect of the colony. She was a documentary photographer who created historically significant images of Beijing, Hong Kong and Sarawak in the 1930s-1960s. Her images of Hong Kong, like her prior work in China and later images of Southeast Asia, reflect her high regard for ordinary people.
Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence Exhibition Virtual Tour: Lee Fook Chee, 1950s
Singaporean photographer Lee Fook Chee arrived in Hong Kong in 1947, and photographed the city over the next decade, earning a simple living by selling his photos to tourists on The Peak. He initially took and sold portraits, and later mainly sold his Hong Kong photos. His images can be seen in our Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence exhibition, featuring 37 of his black-and-white photographs that highlight the changes Hong Kong experienced in the 1950s. Our exhibition curator Edward Stokes introduces some of his photographs in our Chantal Miller Gallery.
Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence Exhibition Virtual Tour: Brian Brake, 1960s-1970s
Our Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence exhibition includes 20 colored images that portray Hong Kong from the 1960s to 1970s by Brian Brake, New Zealand’s most successful international photographer. Prior to moving to the city, he travelled the world for prestigious photo agency Magnum. A master in photojournalism, his photos appeared regularly in iconic contemporary photo magazines, notably Life Magazine. Intrigued with Hong Kong, he was stationed in the city for over a decade, and recorded Hong Kong for TIME-LIFE's The Great Cities book series. Our exhibition curator Edward Stokes introduces Brian Brake's snapshots of Hong Kong's resurgence.