Joyful childhood

Children playing fireworks during the new year. The children were enjoying their new year holiday and the fun of burning firecrackers and firework. The dark background accentuated the subjects. While Ho Sau’s grown-up child read through the photos at home. She was nostalgic about her childhood’s company, who was no longer in touch because of study and migration.

往日童年不識愁 共同玩耍樂無憂
廿年人事多遷改 難覓圖中舊侶儔

A spotlight

Floors of So Uk Estate. One method of accentuating the subject was to focus on a light source in darkness; the darker the background, the more outstanding the subject. The key is to avoid objects of equal brightness appearing on the picture, and should try to eliminate them from the frame.If such were unavoidable, darkroom processing or computer processing can be done to reduce its brightness or have it deleted. This picture is a result of post-processing.The background was darkened to accentuated the effect of the lone moon in the sky. The site where the photo was taken is a opposite facing building; the lens was a 135mm and the film was black-and-white. A painter could be seen repainting the wire fence, and the bright areas of the sky accentuated the silhouette of the subject.

大廈落成畫意框 線條結構顯堂皇
色層細膩雖昏暗 奪目全憑一點光

Whitewash at So Uk

Exterior walls of So Uk Estate. The honeycomb pattern can be appreciated as a collage of crisscrossing lines and perfect triangles. The pattern is accentuated by a black background and the subject dressed in white was large enough from interference by the pattern. The lines of the work ladder created an interesting contrast.

樓房容改易衣裳 美化門窗共粉牆
內壁專挑塗乳漆 外觀獨選掃灰漿
長期積垢羞顏面 新貌煥然喜氣洋
明白慢工成細貨 精妍技藝若雕鑲

Danger in any instance

Unattended children climbing the fences. In the old days with both parents working many children loitered and played dangerously on roads and on iron fences. The framing was the iron fence which slanted leftwards from the subject directing the viewer’s gaze from right to left; yet the lamp post stopped the gaze from spilling out of the frame.

期增視野坐高欄 畢竟危機生瞬間
暑假學童疏管教 岐途難返淚偷彈

Lanterns parade

So Uk Estate arena at mid-autumn. The cool tone of the fluorescent lights accentuated the warm lanterns of the children. As the children grew the lantern processions shrunk in size. The weak lighting and the long exposure blurred the movement and formed light trails behind the lanterns. The picture was awarded 4th place and bronze award in the Pentax Camera International Photography Contest.

月球探索證無神 秋節依然好氣氛
五色彩燈齊會集 孩童結隊享歡欣

Children in race

The pupils were in running contest on the playground of Li Cheng Uk Resettlement which was next to So Uk Estate.

Map of So Uk

Map of early So Uk Estate carved in grid-block walls.

Chat after supper

The residents of So Uk Estate gathered for leisure. In the 1950s, air-conditioner was a luxury at home, and after dinner neighbouring residents loved to enjoy the company with each other and chat in the cooler open air in the estate.

黃昏夜後共商量 燈下閒談物價揚
何處市場廉且美 勝提張短李家長

Moonlight in So Uk

So Uk under moonlight.


Corridors inside So Uk Estate buildings.

Dangerous work on railing

Painter painting the walls of the building.

Recounting the past

The original football playground was turned into a multi-level car park.

Mid Autumn Festival in So Uk

Neighborhoods enjoying the moon with lanterns.

Painting the outer wall

Painter working at height.


Neighbourhoods gathered in tree-lined park.

Ready to go up

The painters were setting the work paltform before working at height.

So Uk Estate Car Park

The original ground was the So Uk parking lot, which was later changed into a multi-storey car park. At ground level was a Chinese restaurant.

Furnishing project

Painter painting the walls of the building.

Playground after the rain

The pebble floor separated the the children and the janitor and formed a stark contrast.

My Nephews

Photo taken in So Uk Estate. The children in the photo were Ho Sau’s cousins who lived with him.

Family letter

Elderly chatting in So Uk Estate. Ho Sau walked past a corner at So Uk Estate and caught the sight of a man reading something to a woman. He exclaimed that women of the older generations were usually illiterate, under the feudal saying that women with virtue were not educated. He imagined that the old man might be reading a family letter to the woman. It helped her to relieve her home-sickness because there was a saying that ‘a letter from home is worth thousands pieces of gold’.

愛兒負笈往歐西 學業有成冠試闈
升職加薪誠喜事 明年兼且抱孫歸

Back to childhood

Old ladies on the swings. Photo was taken in the playground and the scene was easily distracted by odd objects or colours in the background. This photo was no exception, but Ho Sau lived in So Uk Estate and could easily locate a high vantage point. The branches formed the foreground and the framing was more concise. Swing is a childhood object; in the picture the two old ladies seated on the swing making one wonder if they were talking about their past: they were regretting how they never tasted childhood after many years of toiling, and hoped for the reversion of time.

辛勞幾十秒 白髮始離休
唯一祈心願 時光能倒流

Parking space in So Uk Estate

Private cars in the parking spaces in So Uk Estate. So Uk Estate was rather stringent in admitting tenants and residents were workers who have stable jobs; some could even afford to keep their own cars.

Study diligently

Children studying in the stairs. In the 1960s study room facilities were not as common as what we saw today. Students living in noisy dwellings had to go to the parks and playgrounds to study; or nearby fire escapes where it was quiet and bright.

穿牆夜讀望登科 燭焰青燈亮幾何
晝間定怕光炫目 寧忍眼矇受折磨
當今晚黑同璀璨 減壓鬆弛賞樂歌
惜陰假日仍開卷 飽學前途好切磋

Watch Out!

Children playing on the stairs. The older kid helped the younger one climb the beam, then followed suit. There was little room left and the climb was tough. The place was a supporting beam beneath the stairs and was formed in an “H” shape. It was a playing space frequented by children.

穩牢石柱矗無危 橫坐水平亦較低
好動孩童貪嬉戲 攀登安否在人為

Before putting winter clothes into storage

Residents laying out clothes in the sun in the open space. Tradition has it that the winter clothing should be hung in the sun before stowing them away after dragonboat festival, to prevent them from molding in the closet. During the 3rd and 4th months of the lunar calendar Ho Sau often saw residents laying out clothes in the nearby playground. The irregular shapes were photographed from a top-down angle.

四月棉衣未敢送 以防料峭春寒凍
邇來溫度漸提升 姑洗被裘忙入槓

Reaching to the sky

The child appears as if reaching out to the kite, and at same time trying to touch the blue skies.

Adventure with metal frame

Huge climbing frame.

A night with the full moon

A moonlit night at So Uk Estate. The moon was so bright that filming it together with the landscape would result in overexposure or distortion of the moon from the long exposure. The solution was to take two separate pictures and overlap them in development. The picture was taken using slides; first the landscape then the moon in two exposures. It received the outstanding award in the national photo exhibition in Taipei.

秋夜素娥孤獨緣 樓層北向賞無緣

Trigonometric patterns

A painter furnishing the exterior walls of So Uk Estate.