The photography craze started in January 2014 during a family trip to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is a special place we go back to as much as we can. In 1994, Mom and our stepdad, Mike, got hitched in HK and we walked from our hotel to Cotton Tree Road. And man was that the longest and coolest wedding march ever. My sister and I were quite young back then and being in Hong Kong was magical. We roamed the gardens and felt like princesses in our flower girl dresses, and explored the beautiful terrain of the Peak Cafe where the reception was held.
Since then, we would visit Hong Kong once in awhile to relive the wedding, enjoy the memories of the Peak, bask in the bustlin’ city (and shopping) life and indulge in the seemingly secretive world of Foreign Correspondents Club. I also visited Hong Kong with friends of mine in 2006 when we attended the Man Hong Kong LIterary Festival where we met the great writers like Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney and hiked up the giant Buddha in Lantau island.
Yes, you can say Hong Kong, with its busy streets and culinary awesomeness, is always a comfort and delight to go back to. This time around though, we were going back without Dad.
When Dad passed away in 2013, I was in Boston and could not make it back home. I went through the wake and the funeral from thousands of miles away but feeling close to everything thanks to technology (thank you Google Hangouts!). After the funeral, my mom and siblings (Cara and Niccolo) decided to escape to Hong Kong for a few days of peace and quiet. They were able to go through the lonely and painful itinerary not having Dad around, but at least they were in a place with such happy and adventurous memories.
When we traveled in 2014, it was my first trip without Dad and it wasn’t easy.
So instead of crying in every stop of the itinerary, I turned to the camera to take snapshots of what Hong Kong looked like to me at that moment— both a City of Memories and a City so devoid of Dad. My saving grace? New places, new adventures and new culinary experiences with the family. I dove into taking photo upon photo and enjoying all the little stories I would already write in my head as I saw the shot from the viewfinder.
And then it hit me. What helped me process my grief was this creative exercise. I was allowing myself to feel through the photos that I would take, and the stories that I would find in each shot made me feel alive and inspired. That’s when I decided to compile all the photos and start this little project of finding various stories behind the viewfinder and telling them in black and white.
That is where it began.