Blue Lotus Gallery: HK UNSEEN

Wed - Sun 11:00am - 6:00pm
Image Maker
Greg Girard is a Canadian photographer whose work examines the social and physical transformations in Asia's largest cities over the past 30 years. He is the co-author with Ian Lambot of the seminal book City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City, the definitive record of Hong Kong’s infamous Kowloon Walled City, and its updated re-release, City of Darkness Revisited. To date he has published seven books in addition to the above classics, such as HK:PM, Tokyo-Yokosuka 1976-1983 and Phantom Shanghai, which is listed as one of the top 10 photography books of all time by The Independent (UK).
Public Programme
  • (1) Preview
  • Date: 10.11.2021
  • Time: 4:00pm - 8:00pm
  • (2) Talk
  • Date: 27.11.2021
  • Time: 11:00am - 1:00pm
  • Language: English
  • Fee: Pay as you wish


The story of Hong Kong is one of constant change, but as they say, memories last forever. People remember the 1980s as the golden era: square looking cars steeped in the smell of diesel and fumes shared the streets with jam packed trams (only costing 30 cents) … and the odd bicycle. The streets were busy with an endless stream of people: labourers carrying bulky luggage on their shoulders, dapper men sporting hats with matching ties and an increasing amount of professional office ladies. Many are nostalgic for these simpler days where men were men, women were women and youth still had its innocence.

The 80s marked a period where the city was establishing itself as an international player on the world stage.Significant steps were taken, such as the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong was incorporated in 1980culminating in the creating the financial hub it is today. This was the era before the internet, when phones were still bulky things with dial numbers and with the only wireless device being a pager only used by people involved with emergencies. Success stories of rags to riches were not uncommon and felt within attainable grasp making the ‘Hong Kong Dream’ a reality.

At night, the city was lit up by an ocean of neon signs deafened by the noise of airplanes skimming low overhead towards Kai Tak Airport. Bars in Wan Chai were packed with sailors accompanied by an entourage of pretty young girls. Cantonese music was at its peak when the songs of legends such as Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui came blaring from every transistor radio. Evermore, Hong Kong cinema starring upcoming young talent like Chow Yun-fat put local popular culture on the map.

All this happened under the yellow haze of a simple yet playful atmosphere, captured by Greg Girard’s lens.At 18, when arriving here on a freighter from San Francisco, he spent a year working and trying to save a little money after high school for this trip, “I first visited Hong Kong in 1974, and made several later trips in the 1970s and early 1980s before moving to the city in 1982. Most of the photographs were made before I became a professional photographer, and show the Hong Kong I explored without any thought to how the pictures might be seen or where they might end up.”

Girard’s photographs are a reaction to the visual feast exploding in front of him, feeling excited by the opportunities Hong Kong had to offer, “Like any ‘golden age’ you don’t realise you were living in it until much later. Perhaps the 1980s were special because popular culture, particularly the films but also the music, played such a huge role in defining what Hong Kong was at the time.”

Blue Lotus Gallery is honoured to present the solo exhibition – HK UNSEEN, exclusively showcasing Greg Girard’s old photographs of Hong Kong that have yet to be published. Girard transports us back to the 80s reliving the memories of times now long gone



Zoom Artist Talk With Greg Girard

Join a Zoom Artist talk with Greg Girard, where he will share more about the HK UNSEEN exhibition, his unpublished old photographs of Hong Kong, and the stories behind them.

RSVP for the event by email.

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