Náufragos de la calle
Texto íntegro del blog traducido:
We are not used to seeing his Hong Kong. The city that Jonathan van Smit portrays is a far cry from the images of vanguard technology, skyscrapers or overpopulation that we are used to. With his Leica in hand he pounds the slums of Kowloon. It almost seems like the city of Wong Kar Wai with its stylized and velvety reds has lost its colour and elegance, almost as if it were dyed black and dark grey.
The looks of the prostitutes, vagabonds and night vampires are filled with despair. The scenes are dirty, dark and sordid. The stark contrast and wide angle turn these sad scenes into intense dramas and insinuate stories that the imagination is able to fill with little effort. Here, the woman closes her eyes and we dread to imagine what she is feeling or what images she is projecting inside her head. Amongst all the dirt her white dress seems to have its own light.
His photographs are like that, an antidote for indifference and a blow in the face of the spectator who is not accustomed to such strong emotions. Boredom, routine, despair and pain pass through these mean streets with no half-measures, sweeteners or soft greys. And there, Jonathan is with his gift of ubiquity to attest to that.
Jonathan van Smit (New Zealand, 1949)
His passion for photography awakes in his adolescence but it is not until the arrival of digital that it becomes an obsession. He finds nothing in his native paradise of New Zealand to motivate him. There is too much beauty. However, in 2008 he moves to Honk Kong and it is there in it’s streets, in it’s nights where he finds his natural habitat. A compulsive photographer, in his weekends he walks for 15 hours (more at times) in search of the images that grip him. He shoots over 400 stills, always with a wide angle that obligates him to get closer to the subject. This is how he wraps us up in his images and without realizing it we become part of them and we ask ourselves what are we doing there?
Some references: Eugène Atget, Caravaggio and Cy Twombly.
©Photography: Jonathan van Smit