Fan Ho was a Chinese photographer and he was born in Shangai in 1931. At the outbreak of war in 1941, Ho’s parents were stranded in Macau so he was left in the care of a family servant for many years. Eight years later, Fan Ho moved with his parents to Hong Kong. He began photographing at a very young age with his father’s Brownie and later with a Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera that he received from his father when he was 14.

Fan Ho’s photos display urban life, explored alleys, slums, markets and streets. Most of his work consists of candid of the street vendors and children. Ho was a Fellow of the Photographic Society of America, the Royal Photographic Society and the Royal Society of Arts. He was named one of the Top Ten Photographers of the World by the Photographic Society of America between 1958 and 1965. Approaching Shadow, is one of Fan Ho’s most famous works. It symbolises that “your youth will fade away since everyone has the same destiny”.

Ho joined the Shaw Brothers in 1961 to develop his career in cinema. During the early 1960s he also produced a series of short films. The first one is called Big City Little Man, it was shot in 1963 and it won the Honor Award Certificate, from the Japan International Film Festival in 1964. Fan Ho left the Shaw Brother in 1969 to develop his career as a director. He made over 20 films with various studios and five of his films have been selected in the Permanent Collection of the National Film Archives of Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Ho’s wife and children moved to San Jose, California in 1979 and he followed them in 1995 after retiring from cinema. A few years after he retired, Fan Ho’s family suggested that he pursue photography again. But rather than taking new photos locally, he decided to use photos from his old negatives and he started showing his portfolio to local galleries.

Fan Ho died in San Jose on 19 June 2016 of pneumonia at the age of 84. Many of Ho’s photos that were taken in 1950 were exhibited in Hong Kong in the last half of June 2017. A new monograph was published to coincide with the exhibition.

All the pictures in this page are by Fan Ho. All rights reserved to the author.

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