Learning from the Narrative Photography Techniques of Fan Ho

Fan Ho was a self-taught photographer, an actor, and a film director. As a photographer, he specialized in street photography and had been able to establish himself as one of Asia’s most beloved street photographers. During his lifetime, he took remarkable photos of Hong Kong during the 50s and 60s when it was undergoing a dramatic change. Much of the surroundings that he captured then do not exist today, but we can still experience them through his photographs. In today’s inspiring video, photographer T. Hopper talks about Fan Ho’s journey and how he’s influenced her in the art of narrative photography:

Of the many aspects of Ho’s style of photography, it’s the intent of storytelling that inspires Hopper the most. As we can see in the examples, there’s always something more about his photography. The images are ever so lively and there’s always something happening. It’s almost like when you pause a movie scene – anything could happen next.

As photographers, it’s usually the works of other photographers that inspire us. But, it’s quite interesting to know that Ho wouldn’t just draw inspiration from other photographers; poetry and music inspired him equally. So, if you’re looking for inspiration, always keep your mind open. You never know where you’ll find your inspiration.

You can also see that Ho excelled in contrast and lighting. He waited for the right moment and composed his images around lighting. He carefully studied the interaction between light and people and composed to capture the drama and story. While studying light is a basic concept in photography, most of us fail to implement it. Ho’s images are perfect examples of why we shouldn’t take the concept for granted.

During his later years, he also gave us all an important lesson. Using his analog captures and digital technology, he created some really interesting double exposures.  The idea is to be open to technological advancements and use them to make our workflow easier. If something makes our lives easier, we should be adopting them to better ourselves.

Who do you look up to as an inspirational photographer?

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