Thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones and digital cameras, photography is now a near constant presence in our daily lives. Selecting the photographs worthy of being considered art is no easy task as art galleries in Hong Kong have to sift through an increasing amount of dross to discover the true gems. Here are five institutions leading the way here in the city.
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Hong Kong’s best photo galleries
Attempting to kill two birds with one stone, Bamboo Scenes was established last year by Madelon de Grave as an online-only platform for Hong Kong-based photographers to share their work with a broader audience and for local art lovers to collect prints at affordable prices. “What I love about photography is that it captures little moments that we wouldn’t notice on a regular day,” de Grave tells us. “It is a common visual language that can bring people together.” Despite being an online gallery, Bamboo Scenes hosts regular pop-up exhibitions where 10 percent of sale profits are donated to charity. De Grave explains: “Our task is to make these images more permanent than just digital while also challenging the art scene.” bambooscenes.com.
Sarah Greene founded Blue Lotus Gallery more than a decade ago with the original aim of focusing on local artists. It was a collaboration with printing house Asia One that ignited her interest in photography. “Photography is the media with the most direct translation of a reality,” states Greene. “And we were the first to consistently build programmes around exploring Hong Kong’s identity through photography.” The gallery’s biggest achievements include the rediscovery of local artist Fan Ho and the publication of Marcel Heijnen’s popular Hong Kong Shop Cats. Start here to discover the next big thing in Hong Kong photography.
Housed in an 80-year-old three-storey art deco flat since 2014, F11 is the city’s first and only private photo museum and gallery. “Our mission is to promote the appreciation of photography, conservation and adaptive reuse of heritage buildings, and to have more private museums established in Hong Kong,” explains founder and director Douglas So. Keen to educate the populace about the world of photography and how it has ‘evolved into an important art form through which artists express their creativity, aesthetic sense and feelings’, F11 has exhibited the likes of Pulitzer Prize winner Sergey Ponomarev, renowned French photographer and painter Jacques Henri Lartigue and Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin, as well as vintage camera models. Just be sure to make an appointment before visiting.
Established in 2014, La Galerie strives to be a bridge between East and West and to showcase Asian and western artists such as André Villers and Wang Wusheng. “We want to change the traditional perspective people have of photography,” explains gallery manager Rainbow Kwok. “There are many fabulous artists with a lot of creativity. They tell us stories in a very unique way.” Since photographic works tend to have more than one copy, photographs at La Galerie are more affordable than the average painting. Budding collectors can start here and own the same masterpieces as those in museums.
A non-profit art organisation founded by four veteran photographers more than 10 years ago, Lumenvisum is an open platform that encourages cultural and educational exchanges between artists and art lovers. Since its opening, the gallery has collaborated with more than 60 local artists, including Yau Leung, So Hing-keung and Joseph Fung. Be enchanted by the works of local talents and expand your worldview via their refreshing perspectives.