Images that reflect local people's lives as well as the changes in our cityscape are the star attractions of the Hong Kong Museum of History's latest exhibition, "Images Through Time: Photos of Old Hong Kong". Set to run from tomorrow (December 18) until April 21 next year, the exhibition will share with visitors rare old photos that have never been publicly displayed before, giving museum-goers a not-to-be-missed opportunity to look at the development of Hong Kong over the past century.
Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the "Images Through Time: Photos of Old Hong Kong" exhibition has been organised by the Hong Kong Museum of History with support from the Moonchu Foundation. The exhibition is also a highlight programme of the "Vibrant Hong Kong" theme under the "Hong Kong: Our Home" Campaign launched this year.
About 700 priceless old photos from the museum's collection and the Moonchu Foundation's collection that are related to the development of photography in Hong Kong as well as the history, people's livelihood and customs of Hong Kong will be showcased in the exhibition. Visitors will be also able to see pictures taken by some well-known early Western photographers including Milton Miller and John Thomson.
The exhibition was officially opened today (December 17) by the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Raymond Young; the Chairman of the History Museum Advisory Panel, Dr Philip Wu; the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung; and the Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of History, Ms Susanna Siu.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Young said that since its establishment in 1975, the Hong Kong Museum of History has been striving to collect photos of Hong Kong. Its collection today comprises more than 14,000 old photos, and the museum has shared its research results with the public through photo exhibitions and publications. Mr Young also showed his gratitude to the Moonchu Foundation for its great support by providing more than 20,000 very rare old photos of China for exhibition and research purposes. With this rich collection, the museum has been able to organise the largest historical photo exhibition ever held in Hong Kong.
Photography is a combination of science, art and documentation in which images can be captured through the use of optical instruments. In 1839, the birth of the first photography in the form of the daguerreotype process was announced in Paris. From then on, photography started to spread overseas. In its early years as a British colony, Hong Kong became a place of interest to foreign commercial photographers. The resulting launch of photo studios in Hong Kong at that time made this tiny city a very important place in the development of photography in China. Hong Kong became a major base for early photographers who visited China and served as a breeding ground for the first group of Chinese photographers. As photography happened to emerge just as Hong Kong began to develop as a city, it is possible to trace the development of Hong Kong through old photos.
Early photographers in Hong Kong were mainly foreigners who took photos of street views, important events and social customs. The pictures were mostly acquired by foreigners in Hong Kong for sending to their friends and relatives at home as gifts, and the images became reference points for understanding Chinese society. This made the pictures a commodity. These photos were mostly taken in the contemporary political and commercial centres such as Central and Sheung Wan, as well as at landmark buildings. The daily lives of the people as well as important events were captured. Taken by different photographers without any system, these images can be brought together today to show the old look of the city and serve as a key reference in the study of Hong Kong history.
After initially receiving the photo repository handed down from the City Museum and Art Gallery at Hong Kong City Hall, the Hong Kong Museum of History has been striving to collect, study and display photos about Hong Kong's history since its establishment. The photo exhibitions held include "Historical Photographs of Hong Kong" (1982), "City of Victoria: Historical Photographs of Hong Kong" (1999), "The Battle for Hong Kong: Hong Kong under the Camera of the Japanese Army Photo Exhibition" (2002) and "Dockyards of Hong Kong - Pictorial Exhibition on Hong Kong's Shipbuilding and Repair Industry" (2011), and all were well received by the public.
In 2012, the Moonchu Foundation generously lent over 20,000 old photos of China acquired from overseas and the Mainland to the Hong Kong Museum of History. Many of these recorded rare images of old Hong Kong, covering the development of photography, commercial activities, people's lives and entertainment from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century.
The exhibition will detail how photography was introduced to China and Hong Kong. Images on display will depict the subjects of food, transport, festivities, disasters, customs and practices, as well as the development of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories, offering visitors a good opportunity to look at how Hong Kong has evolved over the past century.
To enrich the content of the exhibition, the Hong Kong Museum of History has collaborated with the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong to produce interactive multimedia programmes that will give visitors an extraordinary experience when visiting the exhibition. The multimedia programmes include "Panoramas of Hong Kong Island over a Century", which will allow visitors to witness on a 13-metre-wide screen the transformation of the northern shore of Hong Kong Island from 1888 to 2013. Meanwhile, "The History of Ours" Photo Album will enable visitors to select old photographs collected from "The History of Ours: Campaign for Collection of Photos" for viewing.
The Hong Kong Museum of History is located at 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It is open from 10am to 6pm on weekdays, from 10am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, and from 10am to 5pm on Christmas Eve and Chinese New Year's Eve. It is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays) and on the first two days of Chinese New Year. The admission fees for the exhibition "Images Through Time: Photos of Old Hong Kong" are $20 (standard ticket) and $10 (concession ticket). Half-price concession tickets are available on Wednesdays.
For details of the exhibition, please visit the Hong Kong Museum of History's website at http://hk.history.museum or call 2724 9042 for enquiries.
Ends/Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Issued at HKT 20:13
The opening ceremony of the largest historical photo exhibition in Hong Kong, "Images Through Time: Photos of Old Hong Kong", was held today (December 17) at the Hong Kong Museum of History. Picture shows the officiating guests at the opening ceremony (from left): the Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of History, Ms Susanna Siu; the Chairman of the History Museum Advisory Panel, Dr Philip Wu; the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Raymond Young; and the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung.
Officiating guests visit the exhibition.
Officiating guests visit the exhibition.
A picture showing Salisbury Road, looking east outside the Tsim Sha Tsui railway terminus, taken during the 1930s.
A picture of Hang Fa Lau on Queen's Road taken by John Thomson in about 1870.
A picture showing the Kowloon Walled City, looking from Nga Tsin Long Village, taken by John Thomson in about 1870. This is the earliest image of the Kowloon Walled City.