Friday, November 15, 2019

Dirty old towns

Places can change character, just as people can. Transformed by modernising influences including capital investment and immigration, for instance, modern-day Vancouver is very different to the gritty, working-class port city shot by photographer Greg Girard in the 1970s.

Such urban transformations have been particularly rapid in Asia. Little wonder, then, that Girard has based himself there for the last few decades, capturing the realities of ordinary working-class life in Hong Kong, Hanoi and Tokyo.

His series on Kowloon Walled City is especially eye-opening, the images conveying not only the sights but also the sounds and smells of an extraordinary place - a grim, dank warren of dark tunnels and shoebox apartments from which the residents can only dream of escaping by going up on the rooftop and witnessing the planes flying overhead.

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