Canadian photographer Greg Girard first started taking photographs in downtown Vancouver, taking the bus into town from his suburban home as a high school student. He first visited Hong Kong as a teenager in 1974, travelling to the city on a freighter from San Francisco. Since then, he has lived in Japan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, and produced photographs for publications including National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, and the New York Times Magazine.
His new book HK:PM gathers his photographs of Hong Kong at night taken between 1974 and 1989. The collection shows the underside of the city that he lived in for 15 years, from neon-lit streets in Tsim Sha Tsui to dive bars in Wan Chai to the hotel rooms of the soldiers and sailors who frequented them.
“I started taking photographs at night as soon as I picked up my first camera. I never really thought of them as “night” pictures. It was just a different kind of light, whether neon, fluorescent, moonlight or the light of the city reflected off an overcast sky. But Hong Kong was alive at night in a way that other places weren’t,” says Girard.
“[A]t the time (1970s and 80s) I wasn’t seeing anything, apart from a rare scene in a Hong Kong gangster film perhaps, that was visually registering the place I was living in.”
Girard is also known for co-authoring the book “City of Darkness,” a five-year project with architectural photographer Ian Lambot documenting the Kowloon Walled City.