Into the (lime)light: Hong Kong photographer South Ho – Schoeni video interview



Hong Kong photographer South Ho talks about his work in a video interview, as part of a series produced by Schoeni Art Gallery in celebration of their twentieth year anniversary.

Ho officially started his artistic career in Hong Kong in 2002. He uses a large format analog camera to depict his home city in black and white, an attempt to reflect on the impositions modern life places on its young citizens.

Photography as introspection

In the Schoeni video interview, South Ho (Ho Siu Nam South; b. 1984) discusses his first encounter with photography and why he has stayed faithful to the medium.

I think one of the key advantages of photography is that it can be easily understood. … I chose photography because I didn’t learn the techniques of any other art forms when I was young. When I was around 15, 16 years old, I first got to know about photography, and since then I have been quite obsessed with it. … It’s important for an artist to focus on the medium he is most familiar with first.

While sticking to a single medium, Ho altered the emotional content of his art. In his earlier works, such as his “Into Light” (2009) and “Free am I” (2010) series, Ho focused more on his inner world, he says.

'Into Light III', 2007, gelatin silver print, 45 x 45 cm. © Ho Siu Nam. Image courtesy Blindspot Gallery.

‘Into Light III’, 2007, gelatin silver print, 45 x 45 cm. © Ho Siu Nam (South Ho).
Image courtesy Blindspot Gallery.

Art Radar has covered other videos in this Schoeni Art Gallery interview series. Click here to view them all.

Capturing social issues

With his “Those Shores” (2012) series Ho shifted his attention to societal concerns. In these works, the artist takes Hong Kong’s real estate industry as a subject.

In Hong Kong, real estate is a luxury. Hong Kong people make huge efforts to acquire it. The buildings themselves are like billboards and the lightboxes make perfect billboards.

The large scale black and white photographs are printed on transparent foil and mounted onto lightboxes. Speaking on his colour choice, he says,

To put it simply, black and white photos are free from the effects brought about by colors. To the viewers and also to me, the focus is on the image and the object we see. … Black and white is a very abstract concept as we seldom have the chance to see the world in black and white at one glance. Many of my works explore our inner worlds and I want to create an image which is detached from reality. Black and white photography is a good way for me to achieve this. Interestingly enough, maybe black and white is how our inner worlds look like.

'Those Shores VIII', 2012, backlit transparency (Duratrans), aluminum light box, 100 x 81 x 5 cm. © Ho Siu Nam (South Ho). Image courtesy Schoeni Art Gallery.

‘Those Shores VIII’, 2012, backlit transparency (Duratrans), aluminum light box, 100 x 81 x 5 cm. © Ho Siu Nam (South Ho). Image courtesy Schoeni Art Gallery.

South Ho reveals in the interview that the turning point in his artistic career came after showing his “Into Light” series in Japan in 2009. In the same year, he was presented with the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Award for his photographic series.

Art Radar has covered other videos in this Schoeni Art Gallery interview series. Click here to view them all.

More on South Ho

After graduating from Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2006, Ho worked briefly in the media industry before dedicating himself full time to his art. In 2009, his first artwork was collected by the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan. His artworks have since been collected by the Burger Collection, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

South Ho has participated in several international photography exhibitions and competitions since 2007. In 2011, he held his first solo exhibition at Blindspot Gallery in Hong Kong where he showed his “Into Light” series. He is also a founding member of 100ft Park, a non-commercial art space in Hong Kong that aims to provide an open platform for artists working in every media.

This article was written by a participant in our art writing diploma programme. Do you want to write for Art Radar, too? Click here to find out more about our Diploma in Art Journalism & Writing.

Nora Gantert

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Related Topics: Hong Kong artists, photography, video interviews with artists, buildings, city, urban

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