The brilliance of Fan Ho

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by c_wyatt, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. Thought I'd post something that might be of interest, even to those very familiar with the usual classic greats of street photography. Fan Ho is a Chinese photographer (b. Shanghai 1931) who is, perhaps not overlooked, but almost undoubtedly not as well known outside of East Asia as the quality of his work might suggest. He is known outside there of course, to many photographers, but not globally to the extent he might be if he was mixing in France in the thirties or the States in the fifties.
    Anyway, there is not a huge amount on Fan Ho online. I can't find any biographical article such as a Wikipedia entry or website. However he is represented by Modernbook publishers, and they've done a good job of putting up some of his work, and a very interesting video which gives information on Fan Ho as well as interviews him, but is hard to hear.
    I find his work pretty stunning. You really are transported to the time and place. As well as the 'usual' qualities of great street stuff - interesting moments, beautiful light, shadows, people, geometry... he also often uses very unusual crops, which is interesting.
    If you click on either 'Hong Kong Yesterday' or 'The Living Theatre' you'll see some work from two of his major books:
    Here is the video with Fan Ho from 2009, now a very elderly man:
  2. Photoeye just shipped my copy of "The Living Legend" a couple days ago. Can't wait to get it. The modern book site is a good place to look at his work
  3. Just reviewed all the pics listed under" The Living Theatre" on the site above and the work is really fantastic.
  4. Hey John, in your first post did you mean 'The Living Theatre'? Be interested in what you think of the book when you get it.
  5. Yes "The Living Theatre" The book was shipped 11/17. Will post as soon as I get it.
  6. C Wyatt. I have looked thru the book 3 times now and I can say it is one of the best Photography Monographs that I have seen or own. Besides shooting I also collect Photo Monographs and have well over 250. I put Fan Ho in the top 5 street photographers I have studied, the other 4 being Kertesz, Gardin, Ronis, Bresson. The book is extremely well made with a print laid in on the cover. His use of light reminds me of Ray Metzker's book "City Stills", on of my favorite books. The print quality in the book is fantastic, only surpassed by the print laid in on the cover. This book is selling out fast. In a couple years it will be a collector's item like City Stills which you can not get for less than 350. If I could only have 10 photo books this would be one of them. Buy it. I think I will buy his first book as well if still available. I found out in the little writing in the book that born in 1931, he started shooting at age 13 when his father gave him a Rollei TLR. The earliest photo is 1945 and the latest was 1966. He is also a film maker. The book is very impressive.
  7. double post
  8. John, thanks very much for the information. I think I will need to get both of his books. Like you say, these look like some of the highest quality work in this field I've seen. Glad the books/printing do it justice.
    Cheers, C
  9. That has to be one of the best galleries I've seen... the photo "Approaching Shadow" I find particularly amazing!
    Thanks for the heads up mate, wicked link!

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