Illuminate Hong Kong is a non-partisan project and platform that explores the mindset and spaces of citizens in Hong Kong through photography, light and language.
While we often think of light as something that reveals, the political turmoil that engulfed Hong Kong in 2019 created a special requirement for protection and anonymity in order to encourage open and unencumbered speech. Illuminate Hong Kong facilitates this by subverting the ordinary use of light from illumination to obfuscation, thereby offering a candid glimpse into lives and mindset of Hong Kong citizens.
The series contains photographic portraits of Hong Kong citizens whose faces are made anonymous by washing out with light and accompanied by personal statements about their thoughts on Hong Kong and the recent protests, representing views from across the political spectrum. The portraits themselves were lit with neon lights, long a visual representation of the city, and taken in bedrooms, homes and neighborhood streets to reflect the intimacy of the shared viewpoints.
In 2019, many people in Hong Kong shunned light in favor of collective anonymity. Protesters adorned elaborate face masks and black clothing; police put on heavy riot gear. Almost too suddenly, Hong Kong’s identity became visually binary eschewing individual identity for partisan ideology and collective anonymity. Illuminate Hong Kong is about using light to break this process down and explore the individual identities underneath; it is about how photography has the power to illuminate in both expected and unexpected ways.