Hong Kong Lucida

A Thinking Street Photography Blog

Sham Shui Po

Some time ago at Sham Shui Po, I saw them:

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In Wikipedia’s entry on “Sham Shui Po”, you see this sentence: “Sham Shui Po is an area where urban decay is serious in Hong Kong.”

It is easy to call this documentary photography, in the sense that these are pictures that serve as evidence of social categories such as “urban decay”, “poverty”, “old age”, etc, etc.

It’s hard to see otherwise, but sometimes I think we see things only as we can. Classification is easy because it means you’ve “mastered” the world and have successfully explained what you see to yourself.

At times, though, I could see them as people like myself, living their lives just as I am living mine …

I’ll just end here with the beginning of a poem I’ve been living with for quite some time…

— The Man with the Blue Guitar — (by Wallace Stevens)

The man bent over his guitar,
A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.

They said, “You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are.”

The man replied, “Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar.”

And they said then, “But play, you must,
A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,

A tune upon the blue guitar
Of things exactly as they are.”

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