Clean Hong Kong Action/清潔香港運動

Photography with holes

As a Hong Konger, I have participated in social movements as much as I could, yet I did not find it to be an effective way to change the society for the better. As a man with a habit of responding to the world with a camera, I felt powerless in the face of Hong Kong’s turbulence.

I do not mean photography undermines the reality, but on the contrary its ability to document the physical world turns it into a deadly weapon. The camera was unwelcomed by the protesters. They feared that images of their faces will turn against them if they find a way to the authority’s hand. Every time I picked up my camera I was overwhelmed by guilt and fright. I refrained from capturing those faces. Being at once a protester and a photographer, I was caught in a bind.  
My photographs became helpless liabilities in this situation. I decided to protect the people by punching holes on their faces in my photographs, an act also to reinstate the importance of photography in this event, reconciling my role as a protester and a photographer.

For and against the people, my gesture of eliminating the faces runs on two extremes. First and foremost, it functions to prevent people from being recognized in the pictures. It also points to the violence of the power who believes in the value of Hong Kong as a place but sees its people to be the heart of the problem. I therefore gave the series an ironic title, Clean Hong Kong Action.



















































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