Photo exhibition “Queers of Hong Kong” launched at HKU

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Dozens of LGBTQ people gathered and celebrated the launch of a photo exhibition named “Queers of Hong Kong” on Septmeber 17 at the University of Hong Kong.

The exhibition displays 24 photos of individuals with different genders, ages and jobs, including a drag queen, an HIV-positive man, a badminton player and a businessman. Each photo is attached with a piece of personal narrative, demonstrating the diversity of the queer community in Hong Kong.

“These photos are all about life, telling people who they are. It is the stories behind that make those photos interesting,” said Joe Lam, the photographer of the exhibition.

Lam used to be a fashion designer, but he quit two years ago and restarted his career as a publisher of the Hong Kong gay magazine, DIMSUM Magazine, and director of Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (HKLGFF).

Inspired by the Humans of New York, a series of portraits picturing New Yorker, Lam decided to use photography to call on more acceptance and understanding toward LGBTQ. “We are gay. We are human. There is no difference between us and others. We are ordinary,” he said.

In order to present the most authentic side, he used natural light, grasped people’s relaxed moment, and avoided using Photoshop except for color adjustment.

23-year-old Chanel Lui is one of the models in this photo series. He admitted that he was surprised when Lam sent him an invitation. “LGBTQ is like a closed group. Not many people want to photograph us.”

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(Chanel Lui and his photo)

Lui is a drag queen and waiter in the Propaganda, Hong Kong’s biggest gay club. He chose graffiti wall in the Central as the background of the shooting, because to him, it represents the youth.

“There are LGBT people in every generation. We are young. We need to make more efforts, showing others who we really are.”

On the one wall in the exhibition, visitors left messages with colorful chalks,  such as “Brave to be yourself!” and “Hope more people would stand out and voice the true self!”

Foster Fung was amazed by the high attention this exhibition won. She used to be a volunteer in some similar ones about queers, but neither of them got so much buzz

. “It was unimaginable to have such an exhibition 20 years ago.” She said.

As a photographer herself, Fung came to the exhibit to see how Joe Lam presents the queer world through the lens. She commented that those pictures were the real reflection of gay lifeand some of them are pretty strong.

“There is no exaggeration, just like what the photographer wants to emphasize. Some expect queer to be out of ordinary, out of expectation. But we are just normal.” She said.

She hopes straight people like her parents can come to this exhibition, so they can be mature enough to accept the fact that she is a lesbian.

As the foreplay of the HKLGFF, the exhibition is open from September 18 to October 2 in MC3@702 Creative Space, HKU.

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By YANG Yuqing

2015.9.17

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