Fan Ho, A Hong Kong Memoir
Through Sept 3 at ModernBook
49 Geary St
I’d never heard of Fan Ho. Asian photography is a niche within a niche here in the US. I wandered into ModernBook with little context for the show, aside from general stereotypes of Asian art styles. Someone with a better appreciation for Hong Kong and Chinese art traditions would probably get something wholly different from this show, but even with my shallow reading, I found some striking works.
Fan Ho is an actor, director and photographer from Hong Kong. Photography was a thing he conducted on the side while he paid the bills working on films. The work shown at ModernBook spans three different projects, one of which is a recent meditation on previously shot photographs, compositing two scans into a single “double exposure”.
What struck me most was a series of images made below the entrance to a Hong Kong metro station. Light streams in from above ground through the stairway to the station. From a variety of slightly altered low-angle vantage points, Fan Ho has caught a range of people going about their day. The interplay of light, haze, the clarity of people’s facial expressions, deep shadows and sense of movement held my attention more than anything in the show. If you pop in, definitely check out the small, small prints (2”x2”?) displayed in a big grid. You’ll nearly bump your nose on them peering in at the small faces Fan Ho’s captured.
Fan Ho will be on hand at the gallery tonight for First Thursday.