Why to do street photography in North Point?

Last week-end, I decided to explore with street photography in North Point. Always located on Hong Kong Island, this area offers some quite interesting architectural gems.  It is also an excellent location for street photography and on the tram line. Another example of street photography in Central instead was posted here.

Architecture

The interest of North point is probably first and foremost the architecture. While walking there, I came across this wonderful place called “State Theater”, which is now a derelict cinema. Originally built in 1952, this building has as peculiarity the exposed arches on the roof.

State theater of Hong Kong
The building, although old and badly maintained still provides an impressive view.

Seeing and photographing this building is all the more important as there are rumors that it might be destroyed in the coming years.

For photographers, State Theater provides a very interesting perspective on cityscape, especially when associated with the passing trams.

State theater and tram
A tram passing on the road before the state theater.

Compression

Similarly, North Point is also the location of several examples of “architectural compression”, such as Montane mansion. Other examples are present anywhere you walk into, such in this case, sun shining through these shades in a side alley.

emergency stairs
In a side alley, sun shines through the emergency stairs.

But all over North Point, the architecture is really striking. Here, for example a building just near to the State theatre building.

Compression facade
Another of the buildings whose curved surface shows the compression efforts at work.

Another form of compression observable, is the geometric compression, where structures are decorated and organized in forms that rely on geometry. Here this stairway is just near to Fortress Hill station.

Compression
Another form of compression suggested by tight lines contained in a frame.

Markets and shop owners

North point has also a number of markets with very friendly locals who will take great pleasure to explain you their history if you take the time to start a discussion with them. Here a butcher kindly posed for the picture.

Butchers
A butcher poses at his shop in North Point
Butcher shop North Point
The butcher’s shop in North Point

The beauty of street photography, especially in North Point is the communication it makes feasible with people. For example, I asked permission to take the portrait above… And later, I talked to the shop owner of a sewing shop just next door. He was extremely proud to tell me the history of his shop, which was set up by his parents over fifty years ago. Somehow, testament to the age of the shop, they kept the same boxes, which makes for an excellent picture too. He also kept over 50 years old buttoning machines.

Button boxes
Button boxes (very old ones too!) in a button shop.
Buttoning machines
An over 50-year old buttoning machine.

Along the way, you can also find typical scenes such as the featured picture.

The tram

Last but not least of the beauties of street photography, just taking the tram around can deliver some interesting pictures.

Here, for example, a tram carries a publicity for Sansiri, the Thai condominium developer. These ads are not astonishing as Thai developers have been trying to tap (with some success) into the Chinese money and attract investors.

Sansiri ads
A tram with ads for Sansiri the Thai property developer

From a photographic point of view, the tram rails and the lines allow for some easy photography in terms of composition.

Like here, a variation on “why did the cart cross the rails” using the lines and the pattern on the street markings.

Why did the cart cross
A man carries furniture across the tram rails.

And when you are bored, you can try some easy panning shots. Here, a tram with an ad for China Daily a mainland English-language newspaper.

Tram with panning shot
Tram with panning shot

If that’s not good, you can still try the minibus which also rush by.

Minibus
Minibus rushing at night

If you prefer more static photography, this building offers some nice texture at night.

texture
Nice texture at night for this local building.

 

All in all, doing street photography in North Point allows to see that mix of modernity and tradition which makes Hong Kong so attaching.

I will leave the last word to this little message stuck on a window of the tram:

Deserve some rest
You deserve some rest

How to get there?

The easiest way is to take the MTR to either Fortress Hill or to Taikoo Place or Quarry Bay and walk from one station to the other.

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