Two images of Hong Kong
Consider these two photographs of Hong Kong, each photo taken by foreigners (one French, one British). In very different ways, each photograph speaks to the contemporary debates on light usage and light pollution.
What of the aura of the city conveyed by the photographs? What is it that we are nostalgic for when we imagine the moment captured? If we want to see the stars despite our industrialized environments, we may be making a statement about nature and our relationship to it. With the idealization of nature comes ideas about an original state of being, a sense of a place being "untouched" or even "virginal." If we want to see the buzz of lights, we might instead emphasize the power of humankind and the will of consumerism to rapidly transform a place. We may enter a dialogue about the glitz of cosmopolitanism and globalization.
If we consider that both photographs are somewhat altered, then this human creation suggests that these are visions of the city that each artist has imagined and created. If the value of a photograph was once to capture something real and thereby to prove it, then is either one of these images more or less real for their crafting? Regardless of whether we are long-time residents, newcomers, or tourists, these photographers' lens have made us into viewers of the city. Between these two photographs' visions of light and the city, where do we find Hong Kong?
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