Ho Fan’s Hong Kong street photography 1950s and 1960s

Ho Fan’s 何藩, extraordinary black and white photographs have appeared in several SCMP articles, linked below.

He was born in Shanghai in 1937 where he started to take photographs when he was very young. He says the first thing he shot was the Bund taken with a Brownie, a “very simple, old-fashioned camera”. 

Ho Fan Image Of The Man, With His Rolleiflex 3.5A (type 4KA) Camera

Ho Fan with his Rolleiflex 3.5A (type 4KA) camera, undated

He immigrated with his family to Hong Kong at an early age and began photographing with a Rolleiflex camera his father gave him. Largely self-taught, his photos display a fascination with urban life, exploring alleys, slums, markets and streets, depicting street vendors and children only a few years younger than himself. He developed his images in the family bathtub and soon had built up a significant body of work, chronicling Hong Kong in the 50s and 60s as it was becoming a major metropolitan center.

His photographs included many with an industrial connection including two favourite subjects rickshaws and bamboo scaffolding.

Ho Fan died in San Jose, California, on 19 June 2016 at the age of 84.

Ho Fan Image A Day Is Done 1957

Ho Fan “A Day Is Done” 1957

This article was first posted on 15th August 2014. Updated 25th June 2017.

SCMP articles:

  1. How Fan Ho, Hong Kong’s poet with a camera, found his calling – in his own words SCMP 20th June 2017
  2. Photographer Fan Ho’s never-before-seen Hong Kong images on show in exhibition and new book SCMP 1st June 2017
  3. Ho Fan: In Memory of Hong Kong’s Iconic Photographer SCMP 1st November 2012, updated 19th October 2016
  4. Ho Fan, celebrated 1950s Hong Kong street photographer, dies in California SCMP 22nd June 2016
  5. Street life: Hong Kong in the 1950s as seen through a teenage photographer’s lens SCMP 10th August 2014, updated 26th November 2014
  6. How Fan Ho, Hong Kong’s poet with a camera, found his calling – in his own words SCMP 19th June 2017


  1. Fan Ho’s website http://www.fanhophotography.com/index.html
  2. Fan Ho: finding love and light in 1950s Hong Kong – in pictures The Guardian 20th August 2014
  3. A HK magazine article 1st Nov 2012  http://hk-magazine.com/city-living/article/ho-fan
  4. Fan Ho – wikipedia

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. The Economics of the Tricycle Industry in Hong Kong
  2. The Economics of the Tricycle Industry in Hong Kong – Part Two
  3. Rickshaw Makers’ Stores
  4. The Hong Kong Rickshaw over Time
  5. Bamboo Scaffolding
  6. Bamboo Scaffolding – Dan Water’s photo gallery



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