In 1949, while studying in the Pui Ching High School, I followed a teacher, Wu Chin Li, to take pictures at Yue Xiu Mountain. I also followed another teacher, Ho Chongbai, to New River Pu to do the same. I admired my teachers’ works so much that it drove me to imitate their styles and thus motivated my huge interest in photography. Later on, I took the assignment of shooting most of the pictures in my junior high school’s graduation album.
In my high school years, I often visited Hong Kong. In 1951, when I was waylaid there for a few months, waiting for my US entry approval, I learned about Francis Wu ’s photographic studio at the Gloucester House. The studio’s window often displayed selections of salon pieces, which widened my horizon. I also read the Chinese Art of Photography Monthly, edited by Francis Wu. This magazine often introduced the works of famous masters like Lang Jingshan, Xue Zijiang and Deng Xuefeng. It allowed me to have an in-depth understanding of the masterpieces of that era.
Before I set off to the distant land of America, I couldn’t assure myself that I would be able to make a return trip back home in my lifetime; therefore, my friends and relatives took me everywhere to take pictures for memory. Shatin is a photographer’s heaven. I photographed there on innumerable occasions and also shot pictures of the poor masses. Some of the photographic subjects were acquaintances of my friends and relatives. At that time, people of Hong Kong were generally living in dire poverty.
Some of the Hong Kong life photos were taken with flash light. In those days, a photographer often carried 3 flash bulbs on hand, loading up a flash bulb whenever necessary, then reloading a new bulb for the next shot.
Six decades have gone by. Yesterday’s wasteland of barren rocks has flourished in prosperity. I can hazily remember the approximate locations of my old photographic scenes. They are now all lined up with luxury condominiums towering over them. The friends and relatives who guided me everywhere for my photo tours have all departed. Every time I tread on my homeland soil, I can’t help feeling as if lost in merciless oceans and lonely fields.