Urban Street Photography in the postwar period_Jing

Urban Street Photography in the postwar period

                                        — Ho Fan and his western contemporaries

My final paper will focus on the urban street photography in the 1950s and 1960s. My primary research interest was Ho Fan. He is one of Asia’s most acclaimed masters of photography. During the 1950s and 1960s, he captured a different kind of life in the city, Hong Kong through his Rolleiflex lenses which revealed urban Hong Kong before it became Asia’s financial center. With the help of Doctor Irvine, I get to know that during the postwar period, there were many street photographers in Western, documenting life, change and the city. Also, we can easily tell the influence of Western pioneers through Fan’s photographs. Fan was a faithful believer and Practitioner of French Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s concept “the decisive moment”.  I find there is very few scholarly research on Ho Fan’s work and its impact.My research will start with a review of the historical introduction of street photography. Then I will focus on Fan’s depiction of Hong Kong. Public urban spaces are not merely the subject matter for photography, however, since photographers themselves are actively engaged in navigating city streets fraught with politics and social meaning.(Jennifer, 2012) As a subject for photography, how was the city Hong Kong been theorized through Ho Fan’s lens?   Also, I will compare His work with his western contemporaries.

d6b4e8bc-f8a4-400c-ae8e-21344c412775-731x1020 u5083p1081dt20150205095254 ( Left) Approaching Shadow, 1954. Photograph: Fan Ho/AO Vertical Art Space

(Right) As Evening Hurries By, 1955. Photograph: Fan Ho/Modernbook Gallery

Street Photography as the city documentary

  •             Fan Ho’s photographs are notable not only for their altered perspectives, dramatic compositions, and surreal abstraction but also for the view they provide of the markets, streets, and slums of Hong Kong. As a chronicle of life in a country that is beginning to experience major political and economic change, the photographs serve as documentation of the effects these changes had on individual lives and on the landscape.

Western pioneers and contemporaries

  •             Henri Cartier-Bresson
  •             Garry Winogrand
  •             Ray Metzker         


A Street in Barcelona, 1961 © Ray K. Metzker

Bibliography so far

Durden, Mark. “On Perfection & Affirmation in Street Photography.” Critical Photography Series (2013): 35–63. Print.

Hawker, Rosemary r.hawker “Repopulating the Street: Contemporary Photography and Urban Experience.” History of Photography 37.3 (2013): 341–352.

Patrick, Martin. “‘Vaguely Stealthy Creatures’: Max Kozloff on the Poetics of Street Photography.” Afterimage 30.3/4 (2002): 6–7. Print.

Liz Wells, ed. Photography: A Critical Introduction. 5th ed. London; New York: Routledge, 2015.

Patrick, Martin. “‘Vaguely Stealthy Creatures’: Max Kozloff on the Poetics of Street Photography.” Afterimage 30.3/4 (2002): 6–7. Print.

Jacobs, Steven. “Amor Vacui: Photography and the Image of the Empty City.” History of Photography 30.2 (2006): 107–118. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web.

Tucker, Jennifer. “Eye on the Street Photography in Urban Public Spaces.” Radical History Review 2012.114 (2012): 7–18. rhr.dukejournals.org. Web.

“The Decisive Network: Producing Henri Cartier-Bresson at Mid-Century.” n. pag. Print.