It was just another night in the weekdays when a group of curious amateur photographers gathered at the concourse of the HSBC building. There were students, white-collars and foreigners in the group, all holding a roll of black and white film in their hands. The group have joined a free film-developing workshop organized by Rover(on the street).
Established in December 2011, Rover(on the street) is a group of ambitious photographers aiming to promote street photography in Hong Kong. The founder, Manson Wong, believes that photography is more than taking pictures of a model or a scenery, but to care about the society through documentary photography.
“Every picture you take on the streets is unique, and you can show the contemporary condition of human,” said Manson.
So what exactly is street photography?
“As long as the photo is taken on the street without a deliberate set-up, it can be considered as street photography,” said Jeff, a member of Rover. Another member, Fung, added that street photography should be candid, authentic, and taken in a public domain.
During their years as a street photographer, being scolded or even being forced to unload the film is no novelty. However, they believed that as street photography become more popular and mainstream in recent years, more people will accept the activity.
Back in Central, participants were following the instructions by Rover members to wash their film with the apparatus provided. Unlike other similar courses in the market, no fee is collected. “We hope to work against capitalism by organizing free activities and using free platforms like Facebook to promote ourselves,” said Manson. This also suggested why the workshop is held in the site of “Occupying Central” – a continuous campaign against capitalism.
There was also a message to youngsters that Manson wanted to convey by promoting the use of films. “Life should be like film photography: think carefully before every step you take.”
Rover is planning to organize a greater variety of workshops and hold an exhibition at JCCAC in August as their next steps in promoting street photography.