“Hong Kong is beautiful, isn’t it?” / The Blooming Souvenirs
“Hong Kong is beautiful, isn’t it?” is a photo series that documents the photographing behaviors of Mainland Chinese tourists visiting the Hong Kong Golden Bauhinia Square.
Over the years, the Golden Bauhinia Square has become a must-see for mainland tour groups. As tour buses drop them off at the square, they flock to take pictures with the golden Bauhinia statue. In the square, a number of unlicensed stalls seize the business opportunity to provide photography services to them, as they hold samples of printed photos and tout tourists for pictures services in front of the statue. Before the camera clicks, stall operators would shout “Hong Kong is beautiful, isn’t it?” in Mandarin. Tourists would reply “Beautiful!” The group is neatly arranged, brightly dressed, and happily posing while holding up a long red banner, as if a hunter is taking a picture with its prey. Photos are then printed to share the joy with their friends and relatives.
Tourists unconsciously fell for these photo taking services, as they are clearly not related about unoriginal framing of their picture. Rather, they are using photography as a means to possess something. Such photographic motive has captured my attention. I started to document the photographing experiences of the “photographers” and their subjects in this bustling space. Occasionally, I would sit on the stairs at the corner of the square and silently observe this massive, collective, and horde-like activity.