VERTICAL LIMIT

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Published on March 22, 2015 with No Comments

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Hong Kong as you have never seen before.

Words ANIS RAMLI
Images ROMAIN JACQUET-LAGRÉZE

Hong Kong, with its randomness and lack of big urban planning restrictions, may seem chaotic at first. But it is exactly this wild feeling that somehow gives poetry to the city.

It is easy to pass off Hong Kong as just any other metropolis. After all, there is Tokyo and New York. One can almost expect a homogeneity to exist in these skyscraper-centric cities. Yet Tokyo, while impressive, reveals skyscrapers that are surprisingly spread out; giving the impression of a never-ending city. New York, meanwhile, boasts of an overall homogenous architecture for a tidy outlook.

VERY FEW PHOTOGRAPHERS HAVE EXPLORED WITH SUCH NUANCE AND PERSONAL INTIMACY THE NARRATIVE OF HONG KONG’S URBAN LANDSCAPE.

In Hong Kong, the incredible density forces the city to aim for verticality. And it is this visual that photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagréze hopes to capture with Vertical Horizons. When every commuter is so engrossed in looking at the pavement or seeing only at eye-level, Romaine’s Hong Kong presents the city in a different light.

“The attraction that I have for Hong Kong is quite instinctive,” says Jacquet-Lagréze. “Impressive cityscape, chaotic at some places, ultra geometrical at some other, colourful buildings with an abundance of details everywhere in the streets. All these elements made me want to discover more about all the districts of the city.”

What’s also interesting about Vertical Horizons is that while they all feature a competitive Hong Kong skyline, there is also a feeling of isolation with each image. Very few photographers have explored with such nuance and personal intimacy the narrative of Hong Kong’s urban landscape. What’s even more amazing is that this gripping juxtaposition remains acutely evident reproduced in a hardcover book bearing the same name.

“Capturing the vertical aspiration of the city is also a way for expressing my attitude of being positive and trying to grow as a human being. I also wanted to express the feeling that entrapment is never hopeless. Whenever you feel surrounded or oppressed, you can always look up, and above everything you will always be able to see the sky. For me the sky represents hope in my photos.”

Jacquet-Lagréze went everywhere for his photos. Mongkok, once named the most densely populated area in the world; Quarry Bay, where land reclamation has covered the original bay; Tsim Sha Tsui, a tourist haven; and Central District, Hong Kong’s financial hub. These are all familiar places to the Hong Kong people as well as those who visit. With Vertical Horizons, it lets everyone dive deeper into the city’s cultural chasm, its raw nature and multifaceted expressions of Chinese traditions.

For more information, visit www.rjl-art.com.
Royal Brunei Airlines flies Hong Kong daily.

 

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