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HKFP Lens: Photographer Keith Macgregor pays tribute to Hong Kong’s colourful, neon-drenched past

Keith Macgregor’s upcoming exhibition, The Way We Were, showcases his photographs from 1970s and 80s Hong Kong – from nostalgic street scenes steeped in colonial and local culture to city panoramas and images of life on the sea.
The exhibition, organised and curated by Blue Lotus Gallery, will be held from November 3 to 18 at Usagi, G/F, Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong.
Keith Macgregor the way we were

Victoria Harbour, 1982.

Macgregor has been photographing Hong Kong for nearly 50 years. Educated in England, he arrived in Hong Kong in 1970 to set up as a portrait and later a commercial photographer, which led to the creation of his publishing business.
Keith Macgregor the way we were

Gough Street viewed from Hollywood Road, 1979.

Despite having lived in London for the past 26 years, he returns frequently to take photographs of Hong Kong’s ever-changing landscape.
Keith Macgregor the way we were

Shanghai street, 1980.

Often Macgregor would be found hanging out of helicopters flying over Victoria Harbour and the Lamma Channel shooting commercial vessels with his Hasselblads for big shipping clients like Maersk and Sealand. During those aerial sessions he was able to shoot images of China’s last sailing junks plying their way from Amoy to Canton in the South China Sea.
Keith Macgregor the way we were

Tsim Sha Tsui clock tower and railway station, 1973.

Macgregor’s photographs of Hong Kong were first made public in the form of a solo exhibition at the Excelsior Hotel in 1974 which resulted in the publishing of his Hong Kong calendars a year later.
Keith Macgregor the way we were

Teashop on Shanghai Street, 1982.

The success of his first exhibition led Macgregor to create his own collection of black bordered postcards, which were sent out all over the world in millions.
Keith Macgregor the way we were

Wanchai Road, 1972.

Keith Macgregor the way we were

Sampans in Aberdeen, 1980.

Apart from the postcards Macgregor also published many sought-after books, such as An Eye on Hong Kong, first published in 1997, and Neon City, Hong Kong, at Night.
Keith Macgregor the way we were

Shanghai Street, 1984.

Keith Macgregor the way we were

Johnston Road, 1976.

Macgregor will debut his series ‘Neon Fantasies’ in the November exhibition. A passion project where he imagines a reverse reality where the city multiplies in illuminated neon signs, the photographed street scenes are digitally collaged with photographs of neon signs.

Keith Macgregor the way we were

Keith Macgregor the way we were

Keith Macgregor the way we were

Macgregor will return to Hong Kong to make a special appearance at the exhibition and will give talks sharing his personal stories of Hong Kong during its heyday.

Keith Macgregor the way we were

“I’m very happy to stage my first solo exhibition in Hong Kong together with Blue Lotus Gallery. It brings back many good memories to me and I hope it does the same for our visitors,” Macgregor said.
Macgregor will be greeting visitors at the exhibition on November 10 and 17, from 2-6 pm. His exhibition, organised and curated by Blue Lotus Gallery, will be held from November 3 to 18 at Usagi, G/F, Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong.
The exhibition is open every day from 11 am to 7 pm, except on Fridays where it will be open until 9 pm.

HKFP Lens: Photographer Keith Macgregor pays tribute to Hong Kong's colourful, neon-drenched past