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Abandoned Villages of Hong Kong 瓦落叢生 by Stefan Irvine

Abandoned Villages of Hong Kong 瓦落叢生 by Stefan Irvine

Stefan Irvine Photography

Signed, Hard cover, 112 pages, 64 colour plates, sown binding, matt art paper, 218 x 267 mm x 15mm, 0.75kg

Foreword by Douglas Young, with additional texts by Kim Li, Hannah Chung and Stefan Irvine

Bilingual; English and Chinese

Published by Blue Lotus Editions Hong Kong, December 2023

Edition Size: 800 copies

Book design by Friederike Huber

ISBN: 978-988-76192-1-5

“Abandoned Villages of Hong Kong”, is an invitation to explore the forgotten corners of this vibrant city, and to discover the haunting beauty that lies hidden within its parks and islands.

For centuries before the colonial era, Hong Kong’s population dwelled in isolated villages, subsisting mainly on farming or fishing. When better opportunities arose during the 1960s, many villagers found work in restaurants overseas or in the urban factories of Hong Kong. Meanwhile, their countryside houses - sometimes entire villages - were simply abandoned and left to be reclaimed by nature. Stefan’s photographs breathe new life into the crumbling facades and overgrown relics, allowing readers to witness the enduring charm of these abandoned homes.

With its documentary approach, this collection of photographs features many of Hong Kong’s most isolated settlements and is a testament to Stefan’s passion for capturing the essence of disappearing places. His careful research and deep appreciation for the subject shine through in every carefully composed image, unveiling the hidden narratives of structures frozen in time.

A foreword by Douglas Young sheds light on the architectural and social context of the photographs. Two further essays include some touching and highly personal histories by erstwhile village residents, with heart-warming recollections of village life experienced decades ago.

“Abandoned Villages of Hong Kong” can be seen as a tribute to the resilience of the Hong Kong people, but also the impermanence of our existence. Such photographs serve as a poignant reminder of both the transient nature of life, and the indelible mark left by those who came before us.
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