The Look: Hong Kong’s Cinematic Style


the look

“I wanted to capture photos that were cinematic because I am very inspired by the cinema of Hong Kong,” said the photographer An Rong Xu, who visited Hong Kong this spring.

CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

Mr. Xu, who grew up in Queens, N.Y., cited Wong Kar-wai films, Christopher Doyle cinematography, Fan Ho photography and ’90s gangster movies like “Young and Dangerous” as inspirations for his work. He has frequently traveled to Hong Kong, spending weeks there at a time.

“My family is from Taishan in Guangdong province, so we are of the Cantonese people,” he said. “We speak Cantonese, so when I go to parts of Hong Kong that speak Cantonese, it’s this familiar feeling of home to me.”

Samantha Wong, above, is a blogger on the Instagram account @samishome. She was shopping at a wet market, which is an outdoor grocery shopping center, in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island.

CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

This man, photographed in central Hong Kong, which is the financial district, reminded Mr. Xu of a style he knew from old films. “He captures this sense of a bygone Hong Kong that I rarely see anymore, that you only see in the older generation,” he said.

CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

“There is a trend in androgyny in Hong Kong, where people dress in slim-fitting clothes that might make it difficult to determine the gender,” Mr. Xu said.

CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

The streets of Mong Kok, a major shopping area on the Kowloon Peninsula.

CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

Here, a group of motorcyclists in Mong Kok. “They were stuck in a traffic jam and were making noise,” Mr. Xu said. “Their bikes were the loudest thing on the street.”

CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

A scene on the subway.

CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

“There was something very punk rock and ’80s about their look,” Mr. Xu said of these young women in fishnets and Vans. 

People using fans and umbrellas to stay cool in Tsim Tsa Tsui, Hong Kong Island.CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

In May, when Mr. Xu was in Hong Kong, the temperature was already in the 90s. “Everybody is looking for ways to stay cool and still fashionable, so most people carry around fans or umbrellas,” he said.

CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

Jonas Poon at Elephant Grounds, a “locally grown micro roaster” coffee shop in Causeway Bay. “There is a huge coffee culture in most of Asia,” Mr. Xu said. “Coffee shops are popping up everywhere.” 

CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

A street scene in Causeway Bay. Mr. Xu was drawn to this man’s sense of style. “His blue shirt just had this really artsy feel to it, and his glasses,” he said.

CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

“Another thing that I noticed in Hong Kong is that a lot of people dress in a playful manner,” Mr. Xu said. “Here is this gentlemen with a camo shirt and orange socks and sandals. It just has this childlike sense of play.”

A family all wearing different patterns in Times Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island.CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

Here, what caught the photographer’s eye was a family all wearing assorted prints.

CreditAn Rong Xu for The New York Times

A street scene in Mong Kok.


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