Personal View

1994 HKG The Place to Be

Flying to HKG was a unique adventure back to 1994, an unforgettable thrill

Flying to HKG was a unique adventure back to 1994, an unforgettable thrill

For 2 years, from 1994 to 1996, I had to go to Hong Kong every 2 months to renew my Taiwan visa, as it was almost impossible, for a freelancer like me, to get a working visa for a year. This was an expensive trip, but at that time, HKG was the place to be, the most fascinating one on earth for me.

Photos by Franc Peret (scanned slide)

Good Vibes!

I was greatly enjoying my life and my work in film industry in Taipei, but I had to save money for my forced bimonthly trip to HKG.

My wage in Taiwan was as low as a local one, and the cost of flying to HKG plus staying there for a night or two, represented a huge investment for me, at least 3 weeks of full time work.
I should hate those trips and hate the destination, but in fact it was the opposite.

Memorable Return trips

I was always impatient to return to HKG as I loved this place so much, at that time. I still like HKG, but everything was so much stimulating back to 1994.
First reason was the amazing excitement of landing aboard a Boeing B747 on one of the tiniest airport on earth, located in the heart of one of the most crowded city on earth.

Landing between buildings

I remember, while being in approach to HKG airport at low altitude, seeing through my porthole an old lady cleaning a carpet on her balcony. Our sight crossed, I wave a hello to her and she answered back to me…

Flying through the city

Second reason of my love for the place is the atmosphere of the city itself, an astonishing mix of people, sounds, flavor, occupation, creation and scenery, all packed in such a compact place.

So much to discover in every corner of this magic city

Third, I was used to meet a friend there, one of the person I admire the most: Christopher Doyle, one of the greatest director of photography in the film industry.

Christopher Doyle shooting still picture while monitoring the editing of a TV commercial.
Casual and relaxed Christopher Doyle and Wang Kar Wai at the early stage of their fame in 1994

And Christopher was working with the other person I admire the most: Wang Kar Wai, one of the greatest movie director on the planet.

Meeting the Dream Team

Together they achieved several masterpieces such as “In the mood for love”, “Happy Together”, “Fallen Angel” and “Chung King Express”.

Christopher Doyle guiding me through HKG and Kowloon area to discover some of the shooting spot of “Chung King Express”

I met both of them at the very stage of their fame.

Chung King Express was just starting to get a huge success and Christopher kindly guide me for a visit of the different places they had shot the film.

HKG is never falling asleep
Being too short on money to pay for an Hotel room at that time, I spent some of my night shooting sceneries.

Since them, almost each time I had to go to HKG, I had the chance to meet Christopher for a drink or to visit him on a commercial shooting.

Choice Making

Too bad that my income didn’t allow me to stay longer as I wanted to discover much more and even try my luck working in the film industry in HKG, but my future was in Taiwan where I had the chance to learn film making while being paid in the meantime.

And Taiwan is also a place to be, a wonderful one, but this is another story.

Franc Peret is teaching Essential Photography Classes, Advanced Photography Workshop and Film Making Classes in Shanghai

HKG’s great mix of feel and way of life is still true today.
Self portrait of a young photographer, back to1994. Camera: Pentax Z1