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A Review of Man Fai Wong’s Photo Collection “Colors and the City”

by Tony Huang

Colors and the City, by Man Fai Wong (Hall de Cultura, 2022)

Man Fai Wong's photo collection, "Colors and the City," presents a unique perspective on Macau's urban environment. The collection is full of images that are poetic and convey a sense of both the beauty and the harsh realities of the city.

Wong, a renowned poet and photographer, has a keen eye for detail and is able to capture images that are both captivating and poignant. The photographs in the collection are not just about color – although they do document the vivid colors of Macau's streets and buildings – but are also about texture, light and shadow, and human emotions.

One of the most striking features of Wong's photographs is the way they capture the colors of the city. Wong is a faithful recorder of the city's colors, but he doesn't shy away from looking at the dark and gloomy side of Macau. His photos reflect the emotional complexity of the place and the people who live there. He is able to record the urban landscape in a way that showcases the beauty and ugliness of the city. Whether he focuses on a vibrant street scene or a crumbling alleyway, he masterfully grasps the essence of Macau.

Photo credit: Man Fai Wong

In addition to being a faithful recorder of the city's colors, Wong's camera is often ensnared by the details of everyday life in Macau. He captures the banalities and the struggles of people's lives. His focus is on the human aspect of the city, revealing moments of everyday life that are at times mundane and at others, deeply emotional. Wong is an extremely keen observer of what is human in his city. His photographs tell the story of the people who inhabit the city. He records their fears, hopes, joys and sorrows in equal measure. There is something powerfully evocative about each of his images that captures the essence of what it means to be a citizen of Macau.

Photo credit: Man Fai Wong

Wong's photographs do not necessarily present an optimistic view of life in Macau. Instead, they present a realism that is at times harsh, but always honest. He shows us the struggles, the pain, and the uncertainties that come with living in such a densely populated place. But despite the heaviness of some of the photos, there is also a sense of hope that runs throughout. Wong's photography reminds us that there is beauty to be found in even the most trying of circumstances.

Photo credit: Man Fai Wong

Despite the focus on the details of everyday life, there is still an indebtedness to poetry throughout Wong's photographs. His photos are not just literal representations of the city and its people – they are also poetic, and often metaphysical in nature. Any one of the photos in his collection can be taken as a poem itself, which is a testament to Wong's unique vision as an artist. The photographs are full of depth, both visually and metaphorically, and they leave a lasting impression on their audience.

Photo credit: Man Fai Wong

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Man Fai Wong's photography is how his lens has turned things, however mundane and down-to-earth, into something allegorical. The pictures are often simple and sparse, but in their simplicity lies an incredible depth of feeling and emotion. Wong's camera simultaneously records the physical elements of the city – its buildings, streets, and people – and reaches for the metaphysical, exploring deeper questions about the lives of those who inhabit it.

Photo credit: Man Fai Wong

Overall, "Colors and the City" is a stunning collection of photographs that showcases the unique character of Macau. Man Fai Wong's poetic eye captures both the beauty and the grit of this fascinating city, and his images tell a compelling story that is at once universal and specific. Every shot in this collection is carefully crafted to capture the essence of the moment, and the result is a masterpiece of photography that will delight and inspire anyone with an interest in this part of the world or the art of photography.

Tony Huang is the founder and editor-in-chief ofThe Hong Kong Review. He is also the founder of Metacircle Fellowship, Metacircle (Hong Kong) Culture and Education Co., Ltd. and Metaeducation. He works as a guest-editor for SmokeLong Quarterly. His poems and translations have appeared in Mad Swirl, The Hong Kong Review, The Best Small Fictions Anthology Selections 2020, Tianjin Daily, Binhai Times, SmokeLong Quarterly, Nankai Journal, Large Ocean Poetry Quarterly, Yangcheng Evening News and other places. He teaches British and American literature and literary theories at Nankai University.

Copy editor: Nancy He

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