Can I Borrow Some Time?

Hong Kong housing estates,


hen I was doing stuff in Hong Kong I used to pass by housing estates like these almost every day. Estate is not used in the way that we use it in the west. In Hong Kong that just means a huge block of apartments, or flats as they are called in the British way.

Although I have visited people who live in them and I can not imagine in living in one. The flats are fairly small. A two bedroom flat is about the size of a no bedroom studio apartment in the west. Sometimes a large family lives in something about that size. They are also expensive.

Sometimes people enlarge them illegally, but in plain sight. Look almost to the top and about a quarter of the way from the left. See that green thing that looks like it’s made out of glass? That’s an illegal addition.

Some buildings have those kinds of additions scattered all over them. Top floor apartment owners sometimes break through their ceilings and build something on the roof.

Sometimes estates are called mansions. They are mostly the same thing but they may have shops, small manufacturing companies, cafes and what have you scattered around the apartments. I used to have a tailor on the Kowloon side of the harbor. He had a ground floor shop like most tailors, but his manufacturing plant was up stairs in a rabbit warren. I know because I asked him if I could photograph. He agreed, but got nervous when I he realized I would be there for over a minute.

One of my photographic traits is that I want to know and be able to photograph stuff inside all these mysterious buildings. Sometimes I would just walk in to a mansion and go upstairs to look for a cafe or something similar. In private locations I would talk my way in. I met a really good photographer that way.

I always say that one of the most important traits of a street or travel photographer is to be able to talk to strangers. Try it sometimes. You’ll never know what you might learn until you do. Of course, in New Orleans you might not want to do that. I hate to say this but you could get shot. I have pretty good street sense and bells go off in my head when danger is lurking. I don’t think I’d know when danger is approaching in New Orleans because it is now so wide spread.

That’s too bad.



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