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HKFP Lens: Greg Girard’s nocturnal wanderings in Hong Kong, 1974-1989

Canadian photographer Greg Girard first started taking photographs in downtown Vancouver, taking the bus into town from his suburban home as a high school student. He first visited Hong Kong as a teenager in 1974, travelling to the city on a freighter from San Francisco. Since then, he has lived in Japan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, and produced photographs for publications including National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, and the New York Times Magazine.

Red Lips Bar, Tsim Sha Tsui, 1974

His new book HK:PM gathers his photographs of Hong Kong at night taken between 1974 and 1989. The collection shows the underside of the city that he lived in for 15 years, from neon-lit streets in Tsim Sha Tsui to dive bars in Wan Chai to the hotel rooms of the soldiers and sailors who frequented them.

Man in Hat and Jacket, Wan Chai, 1985/Nathan Road, Yaumatei, 1974

“I started taking photographs at night as soon as I picked up my first camera. I never really thought of them as “night” pictures. It was just a different kind of light, whether neon, fluorescent, moonlight or the light of the city reflected off an overcast sky. But Hong Kong was alive at night in a way that other places weren’t,” says Girard.

Muscle Man, North Point, 1984

“[A]t the time (1970s and 80s) I wasn’t seeing anything, apart from a rare scene in a Hong Kong gangster film perhaps, that was visually registering the place I was living in.”

Shore Patrol, Wan Chai, 1985

Girard is also known for co-authoring the book “City of Darkness,” a five-year project with architectural photographer Ian Lambot documenting the Kowloon Walled City.

Pussy Cat Club, Wan Chai 1974

HK:PM, Girard’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong since 2008, will run from October 27 to November 12 at PMQ.

Red Hot Cecilia, Yaumatei, 1983/Newspaper Clipping and Comic Book, 1983

Kai Tai Aiport, 1989

Hotel Room,. Wanchai, 1982

Neon Gutter, 1974

Police Van, Wan Chai, 1985

Plaza Grill, Wanchai, 1974

Bar Interior, 1985

Hasty Tasty, TsimshaTsui, 1975

Doorman, Tsimashatsui, 1977/Neon and Black Jaguar, Hong Kong 1975

Blakes Pier, Central 1983

Tailor Shop, Wan Chai, 1985

Aircraft Beacon, Kowloon, 1986

American Sailor, Tsimashatsui, 1974

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HKFP Lens: Greg Girard's nocturnal wanderings in Hong Kong, 1974-1989