Shutter Island
Tatler Hong Kong|November 2020
The son of legendary Hong Kong photographer James Chung Manlurk reprints his father’s rare photos to give a glimpse into the city’s past
Zabrina Lo

The photograph is faded but the expression on the young man’s face is clear. He stands in the Macau sunshine, hand in pocket, smiling with pride and a camera around his neck: a 3.5F Rolleicord, a highly sought-after instrument in 1962, when this picture was taken. James Chung Man-lurk, here making a concerted effort to pose like his namesake, Hollywood star James Dean, would himself go on to find fame as one of Hong Kong’s most respected photographers. He died in 2018, but his work is being kept in the public eye with two forthcoming exhibitions: one beginning this autumn at gallery F22 Foto Space and the other next January in F11 Foto Museum, featuring prints reproduced by his son Stanley Chung Charn-kong.

A career in photography was far beyond Chung’s imagination as a child born in 1925 in a small farming village in Guangdong province. He dropped out of secondary school to work as a farmer and carpenter while living with his grandmother. In 1947, amid the backdrop of the Chinese Civil War, Chung, then 22, joined swathes of other mainland Chinese who took boats across the Pearl River Estuary in search of better job opportunities in Hong Kong.

He arrived here hoping to find an apprenticeship in any industry that would allow him to make a living, and ended up using his savings to learn art from Chan Hak-shun, the senior apprentice of Xu Beihong, the Chinese ink painter famed for his paintings of horses that combined Chinese brush techniques with western composition. He also started an apprenticeship in the visual arts department of Wan Chai’s Oriental Cinema at a time when movie posters and other advertisements were illustrated by hand.

Those portraits sparked Chung’s interest in photography. At that time, the German-made 3.5F Rolleicord and the newer Rolleicord Vb F3.5 models were favoured among amateur photographers as they produced photos with excellent depth of field and detail. “He had been drooling over the cameras for quite some time,” says his son Stanley, 64. However, with a family to feed, and a monthly salary of about HK$60 (while difficult to compare to today’s dollars, that sum would likely be about HK$10,000), the aspiring photographer could only borrow someone else’s camera and submit photos to newspapers, making just enough money to buy more 125-exposure rolls, which cost HK$1.25 each.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TATLER HONG KONGView All

What Goes Well with Ox?

Searching for an appropriate gift for the Chinese New Year, our resident wine expert finds there’s more to consider than white or red

7 mins read
Tatler Hong Kong
January 2021

Witch, Please

The latest trend in spirituality might just cast a spell on you. Is there really something behind all the fuss about “ritual magick”, or is it all just hocus pocus?

8 mins read
Tatler Hong Kong
January 2021

Poetry and Purpose

As beauty and wellness become increasingly driven by values rather than value, the influence of Aesop and its pioneering concept is becoming undeniable

4 mins read
Tatler Hong Kong
January 2021

The Mind's Eye

According to hypnotherapist Sonia Samtani, deep emotional healing begins with a journey into your subconscious. Here’s how she can take you there

2 mins read
Tatler Hong Kong
January 2021

Who Says It's a Man's World?

The first woman to hold the chief gemmologist position in Tiffany & Co’s 183-year history, Victoria Reynolds talks us through the biggest moment of her career

2 mins read
Tatler Hong Kong
January 2021

We Made It!

As we enter 2021, we look back on a troubled year for the watch industry. But things aren’t as bleak as you might think

3 mins read
Tatler Hong Kong
January 2021

Shanghai Calling

For years the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art has been at the forefront of the art scene in Beijing—now it’s expanding beyond the capital

7 mins read
Tatler Hong Kong
January 2021

A Material Girl

Having grown up with a bird’s eye view on an era of fast fashion, Veronica Chou is on a mission to promote sustainability for all

6 mins read
Tatler Hong Kong
January 2021

The Winning Image

Bryson DeChambeau recently won his first US Open, with a Rolex Sky-Dweller on his wrist

1 min read
Tatler Hong Kong
December 2020

TESTING TIMES

Danny Yeung, CEO and co-founder of genetic testing company Prenetics, has launched fast, cheap and—he says—accurate Covid-19 rapid testing to help restore normality to a stricken world.

9 mins read
Tatler Hong Kong
December 2020
RELATED STORIES

UNESCO'S INTERNATIONAL CENTRE OF MARTIAL ARTS

It’s a martial arts gem that’s not yet well known. It’s an international organization that’s trying to bridge the gap between styles, techniques and countries. In addition to striving to do all this, it’s a group that’s emphasizing the positive values the martial arts teach.

3 mins read
Black Belt
Black Belt December/January 2021

The Beauty of Being an Outsider

Senreve is a luxury fashion brand, but it wasn’t created by luxury fashion insiders. Here’s how its founders came to dominate a very insider-driven industry.

2 mins read
Entrepreneur
September 2020

CAMP SPOTLIGHT: MIKE GESICKI

Mike Gesicki lined up on the right side of the formation, across from New England safety Patrick Chung. It was first and goal at the Patriots’ 5-yard line. There were 29 seconds remaining and Miami trailed, 24-20, at Gillette Stadium in last year’s season finale.

5 mins read
Dolphin Digest
August 2020

SoKor shuts ski resorts to curb COVID spread

SEOUL Reuters) – South Korea yesterday moved to shut down all ski resorts and winter tourist spots in a bid to stop the novel coronavirus spreading as a third wave of the pandemic proves much tougher to contain in the densely populated region around the capital city.

2 mins read
The Philippine Star
December 23, 2020

THE GROWING DDOS LANDSCAPE

Last month, news reports highlighted one of the biggest DDoS attacks ever recorded. The attack, which targeted a large European bank, generated 809m packets per second (Mpps). This is a new industry record for a PPS-focused attack which is more than double the size of previous attacks.

3 mins read
PCQuest
October 2020

The Beauty of Being an Outsider

Senreve is a luxury fashion brand, but it wasn’t created by luxury fashion insiders. Here’s how its founders came to dominate a very insider-driven industry.

2 mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
October 2020

AN AQUAPONIC TEST FARM PROVES TO BE A SELFSUSTAINING ENTERPRISE FOR THIS MILLENNIAL FARMER

WHAT USED TO BE a test farm for a few microgreens proved to be a self-sustaining enterprise for Franz Chung, 32, a Communications Technology Management graduate from Ateneo de Manila University.

10 mins read
Agriculture
April 2020

Alexa Chung

Modelo, presentadora,'influencer,' 'it girl'... Tambien disenadora. No hay profesion (farandulera) que se le resista. La celeb britanica es fiel a un codigo de estilo que la ha encumbrado al olimpo fashion.

7 mins read
Stilo
Noviembre 2019

Sikkim Switzerland of the East

This Indian state – home to spectacular scenery, remarkable religious monuments and vibrant cultures is known for exceptional cleanliness and integrity of the people.

6 mins read
Safari India
January 2017