Ho Fan (1931- 2016)

Ho Fan, nicknamed ‘the great master’ earned his fame as one Asia’s most beloved street photographers capturing Hong Kong in the 50’s and 60’s.

Ho Fan’s photographic career started in Shanghai at the early age of 14 when given his first twin lens Rolleiflex for his birthday from his father. Within the first year he won his first award. In 1949, at the age of 18, when Communism entered China, Ho Fan’s parents moved to Hong Kong where the young Ho Fan continued pursuing his love for photography.

Dubbed the ‘Cartier-Bresson of the East’ Ho Fan had the patience to wait for ‘the decisive moment’; very often a collision of the unexpected, framed against a very clever composed background of geometrical construction and texture. He also liked to create drama and atmosphere with backlit effects or through the combination of smoke and light. His favorite locations were the streets, alleys and markets around dusk when the sun would cast long shades or life on the sea.

What made his work so intensely human is his love for the common Hong Kong people; coolies, vendors, hawkers selling fruits and vegetables, kids playing in the street or doing their homework, people crossing the street… As per Mr Ho; ‘I love Hong Kong and I love Hong Kong people’’ He never intended to create a historic record of the city’s buildings and monuments; rather he aimed to capture the soul of Hong Kong; the hardship and resilience of its citizens.

Ho Fan was most prolific in his teens and 20’s and created his biggest body of work before he reached the tender age of 28. His work didn’t go by unnoticed at his time. He won close to 300 local and international awards and titles in his day through competing in the salons.  His talent was also spotted by the film industry where he started out as an actor before moving to film directing until retiring at 75.

Ho Fan is a Fellow of the Photographic Society and the Royal Society of Arts in England, and an Honorary Member of the Photographic societies of Singapore, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy and Belgium. He most recently won a 'Life-time Achievement Award, the 2nd Global Chinese Int'l Photography Award, China, 2015' by the Chinese Photographic Society (Guangzhou).

During his long career he has taught photography and film making at a dozen universities worldwide. His work is in many private and public collection of which most notable are: M+ Museum, Hong Kong, Heritage Museum, Hong Kong, Bibliothèque National de France, Paris, France, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, USA and many more.



何藩1931 年出生於中國上海。自14歲生日時獲父親所贈 Rolleiflex 雙鏡頭相機開始,便與攝影結下不解之緣,更在第一年便獲得首個獎項。其後他於 1949 年與家人移居香港,繼續追尋攝影夢。



青少年時代到二十八歲前是何藩最為高產的時期。他的作品在當時已獲得廣泛關注,通過參加畫廊比賽贏得近 300 個地區和國際性大獎。他的才華對電影業亦產生了不小的影響。他曾參演多部電影,之後轉作導演直至 75 歲退休。

何藩是英國皇家攝影學會及英國皇家藝術學會會員,亦是多國攝影學會榮譽會員,包括新加坡、阿根廷、巴西、德國、法國、意大利及比利時。過往曾到多國大學教授攝影及電影製作。其作品獲眾多私人和公共機構收藏,其中最著名的包括:香港 M+ 博物館、香港文化博物館、法國國家圖書館(Bibliothèque National de France)、舊金山現代藝術博物館(San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)、美國聖巴巴拉藝術博物館(Santa Barbara Museum of Art)、

美國克利夫蘭藝術博物館(The Cleveland Museum of Art)。

Photographs by Ho Fan 

Ho Fan first photographs where taken and printed over 60 years ago, photography and printing methods evolved dramatically over time so therefore there are 3 major types of prints: Original Vintage Prints, Resin Coated Vintage and Ltd Edition. Art markets have evolved too... In the early days there hardly was 'a market' and prints were made with the sole purpose of entering competitions and exhibitions.

Vintage Gelatin prints are fiber-base photographs hand printed by Ho Fan himself in the 50's and 60's. They have Ho Fan's stamps or hand written notes on the back of various awards they may have won. Ho Fan at the time would usually not have printed more then a handful per image (apart for a few very popular ones) and very often just a few or the one (if any at all) remain. They come in various sizes.

Resin Coated printing was regarded 'state-of-the-art' printing in the late 70's and was a imposed by the Taiwanese Photography Salon as the new standard. These gelatin prints are also developed by Ho Fan himself in the dark room for the purpose of museum exhibitions and are rare just like the Vintage ones. They usually are matted to 40x50cm apart of a few exceptions.

Limited Edition photographs are recent archival pigment prints made from the old negative under supervision of the artist, made 2006 onwards and are signed and dated (both date of image-taking and print) by Ho Fan. They come in three sizes small comes in an edition of 25, is matted to 40 x 50 cm, medium comes in an edition of 15 and is matted to 50 x 60 cm and large comes in an edition of 10 is matted to 65 x 90 cm. All are including a white border, sizes of images vary. 

For detailed sales inquiries, please contact Sarah Greene at sarah@bluelotus-consultancy.com,  complete the form at the bottom of this page or talk live to sarah on 'Chat Live' box on the right bottom corner of this website. 

Hong Kong Yesterday

Living Theatre

Hong Kong Memoir

by Ann Choi.jpg


Books are available online at Asia One Bookshop and at most Hong Kong bookshops such as Page One and Eslite.


Hong Kong Yesterday  

Publisher: Modernbook Editions
ISBN: 9780977882830

Hong Kong Yesterday is a compilation of Ho Fan’s award winning photographs taken in Hong Kong during the ’50s and ’60s.

The Living Theatre

Publisher: Modernbook
ISBN: 9780980104431

The Living Theatre is Ho Fan’s follow up to his evocative first book, Hong Kong Yesterday. In The Living Theatre, Fan Ho delves even deeper into the lives and landscapes of Hong Kong in the 1950s and 1960s, his discerning images creating an intimate connection between the era and the modern-day reader.


A Hong Kong Memoir 

Publisher: Asia One Books and Modernbook Editions
ISBN: 9780990871200

A Hong Kong Memoir completes the trilogy Fan Ho began with Hong Kong Yesterday and The Living Theatre. In his previous monographs, viewers were introduced to Hong Kong during the 1950s and 1960s. Tw-montaged photographs.

Name *


The Art of Photography by Ted Forbes on Ho Fan In this video - we're going to look at the work of Fan Ho. Fan Ho was born in Shanghai in 1937. After learning how to develop images using the family bathtub he went on to be one of the most notable street photographers and finest artists China has produced.

Film director Ho Fan, began his career as a photographer, capturing the light and the reality of Hong Kong in the 1950s and 1960s, a time when the harbour was much larger and the buildings much smaller.



2016-6 | SCMP: 'Ho Fan, celebrated 1950s Hong Kong street photographer, dies in California'

2016-6 | ARTSY: 'Fan Ho, Iconic Hong Kong Photographer, Dead at 84'

2016-6 | HK Magazine: 'The Final Frame'

2016-6 | HK Commercial Daily

2016-6 | HK Economic Journal

2016-6 | Wen Wei Daily

2016-6 | Sing Tao Daily

2016-6 | Singpao Daily

2016-6 | Oriental Daily

2016-6 | Mingpao Daily

2016-6 | The Standard: 'Local photography icon dies'

2016-6 | Hong Kong Economic Journal

2016-6 | Headline Daily

2016-6 | Apple Daily

2016-6 | DP Review - 'Remembering Ho Fan'

2015-1 | Art and Design (China) - 'Writing Poems with Camera' 

2014-12 | Le Petit Journal - 'DERNIERS JOURS - FAN HO - Chroniqueur d’un Hong Kong hors du temps'

2014-11 | SCMP 48 Hours (HK) - 'The Cartier Bresson of the East is developing old negatives and showing never before seen photo's'

2014-11 | New York International Time - 'Memoir of Old Hong Kong'

2014-11 | Hong Kong Tatler - 'Intimate Glimpses' 

2014-11 | The Independent (UK) - 'Old Hong Kong: Photographer Fan Ho's memoir of the city'

2014-11 | L'Oeil de la Photographie - ‘A Hong Kong Memoir’ by legendary Ho Fan'

2014-11 | Perspective Magazine (Hong Kong) - 'HONG KONG THROUGH THE LENS OF HISTORY'

2014-8 | 20 Mins ES (Spain) -  'El fotógrafo Fan Ho, 'el Cartier-Bresson asiático', revisa a los 83 años su deslumbrante obra'

2014-8 | Guardian (UK) - 'Life and Light'

2014-8 | Guardian (UK) - 'Fan Ho: finding love and light in 1950s Hong Kong – in pictures'

2014-8 | PetaPixel - 'Fan Ho’s Fantastic Black-and-White Street Photographs of 1950s Hong Kong'

2014-1 | Art Illustrated (India) - 'The Tao of Fan Ho'