Community & Education HKFP Lens

HKFP Lens: Disappearing storefronts, fading authenticity – photography duo captures Hong Kong’s endangered cultural traditions

Deborah Hunter and Aleck Durlacher are an Australia-based photography duo, known as Hunter Durlacher, who have spent the last two years documenting Hong Kong’s traditional storefronts, shops and the people inside them.

Pok Fu Lam Village. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

The pair said that they hope to document the rapidly disappearing scenes in the face of the continuing modernisation and urbanisation of Hong Kong.

Sai On Lane, Shek Tong Tsui. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

They are expecting to release a book on the photo series.

835 Canton Road, Mong Kok. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

Hunter Durlacher told HKFP that they were drawn to preserving this disappearing way of life through documenting storefronts using photographs: “[We] share a passion for capturing the images that mark a place, its people and its essence at a single point in time.”

Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market, Waterloo Road, Yau Ma Tei. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

“In making way for modern development and contemporary fast-paced lives, cultural heritage inevitably begins to diminish and sometimes fade away.”

Tak Cheong Lane, Yau Ma Tei. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

“In the evolution of cultural change, the traditions of the people of the time are not only altered, but some traditions can be irrevocably lost.”

Po On Road Market, Lei Cheng Uk Cheung Sha Wan. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

They added: “Hong Kong has been undergoing rapid development and robust globalisation for some time, and with this, there is an inescapable decline of some time-honoured customs.”

State Theatre Building, King’s Road, North Point. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

“Among these are the traditional Hong Kong shopfront and street vendor.”

Shek Kip Mei Estate, Sham Shui Po. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

“In observing the architectural beauty of the endangered Tong Lau, or tasting the authenticity of the Dai Pai Dong, there is a despondency is realising very few of these customary outlets will remain in existence for much longer.”

Po On Road Market, Lei Cheng Uk Cheung Sha Wan. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

“[T]he future of the traditional wet market, street stall and shopfronts which line the streets of Mong Kok, Cheung Sha Wan and the like are placed at risk by modern licence laws and on-going development.”

Lung Chi Path Ngau Chi Wan. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

“In putting on show the truth of these significant components of everyday Hong Kong life, in shining a light on their importance and meaning, perhaps their fate can be slowed down, if not altered.”

Cheung Fat St So Uk Cheung Sha Wan. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

Cheung Chau Wet Market, Cheung Chau. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

847-865 Canton Road, Yau Ma Tei. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

Yuen Po Street, Bird Market, Prince Edward Road West Mong Kok. Photo: Hunter Durlacher.

Visit Hunter Durlacher’s website and visit their Facebook for more images.

HKFP Lens: Disappearing storefronts, fading authenticity - photography duo captures Hong Kong's endangered cultural traditions