By evoking Ho Fan (born in 1937 in Shanghai), it immediately brings to mind the acclaimed Hong Kong director and actor. However he is also famous for his experimental photographs that have been not only chronicling Hong Kong street life from the 50s up to now, but also exploring more pictorial themes such as shanshui (Chinese word for traditional landscape painting), abstraction and nudes. Ho Fan’s art is anything but ‘straight photography’; instead he transforms it into a more dramatic and expressionist art. He deliberately distorts figures, accentuates light and shadow, fuses different negatives together, alters the perspective, and so on. Either in black and white or in colours, Ho Fan’s photographs have yet something in common: all possess the same deep sense of playfulness of composition, theatricality, as if Ho Fan has been eager throughout all these years to create a large body of visual records depicting an almost surreal Hong Kong.
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Photography Friday is a regular feature from Shanghaiist in association with Photography of China, Marine Cabos’s fantastic trilingual blog about photography and photographers in China.