LOOK/17 Cities of Exchange: Liverpool / Hong Kong

April 2017

April marks the start of the LOOK/17 Liverpool International Photography Festival. The festival presents a unique opportunity for trans-global sharing of images and ideas, welcoming Chinese photographers and exploring photography in Hong Kong and Liverpool.

Photography captures a moment in history, a particular second in time. We are living in a time that is informed by our past. A place is formed not with one story, but a collective story of each individual which offers multiple interpretations – Ying Kwok, LOOK/17 Festival Curator.

I started my tour at the Open Eye Gallery – this years Visitor Hub. Straight away I was greeted by Luke Ching’s large haunting black and white prints that are neatly collated across the walls in the space.

Ching’s Room 118, Titanic Hotel, Stanley Dock, Regent Road, Liverpool, L3 0AN is a series of photographs created during a 10-day residency in Liverpool in January 2017. Ching transformed a hotel room into a pinhole camera capturing the dock area in transformation. Documenting how the 200-year old warehouse is transformed into a modern hotel, serving people and the city in a new way.

The Gallery also hosts more striking photography by Wo Bik Wong and Derek Man –Man’s work explores the rapidly changing housing landscape in Hong Kong.

Outside the Gallery, in The Forest space, are Michael Wolf’s Hong Kong Break images. These photographs explore the backstage scene in Hong Kong, revealing the untidy, chaotic hidden parts of the city, and how people find a moment of relaxation in the madness.

Next on my tour was the Museum of Liverpool. This is such a beautiful venue and it’s hard not to be distracted by the architecture (I have included a shot of the stunning staircase that leads you to the Skylight Gallery where the exhibition continues).

Here I saw my highlight of the festival – work by photographer Fan Ho. He uses patience and an eye for ‘the decisive moment’; often a collision of the unexpected, framed against an urban background of geometry and texture. He perfectly captures the lives of people in Hong Kong. My favourite photo is below (right): Her Study, 1963, Fan Ho.

Walking back into the City Centre I stumbled across Now and Before in Liverpool ONE. British-Chinese photographer Yan Preston has made a series of photographs with the contemporary Chinese community in Liverpool. Her project is accompanied by an online WeChat platform, encouraging a photographic exchange between China and Liverpool.

A visit to the LOOK/17 Festival is a must, the festival runs until the 14 May and has various events and fringe events happening throughout the city, you can find out more here: