For over five years, photographer Billy Zammit has been flying back and forth between Sydney and Hong Kong, spending time to document the beautiful chaos of the world’s most densely populated city.
His series, titled KOWLOON – In Transit., shows Zammit’s fascination with the island territory through its many skyscrapers, neon-lights, and grimy alleyways. And to fully capture the spirit of Hong Kong, he not only focuses on one aspect, but rather, aims his lenses at several such as street life, architecture, and portraiture.
The result is a cinematic tour of the city, making you feel as if you were really there.
*KOWLOON – In Transit.* SOLO EXHIBITION. ——————————————————————— Hey everyone! If I haven't already pestered you just yet – I'm having my solo exhibition THIS WEDNESDAY in Sydney @ Goodspace Gallery in Chippendale 115 Regent street (above the Lord Gladstone). There are 33 images being exhibited, all mounted on aluminium and limited to 1/1 (never to be reprinted). Also! on the night will be a limited /100 piece zine – perfect bound, full colour with a 400GSM velvet touch card cover. This body of work has been slowly captured over five years and several visits to Hong Kong, showcasing an array of portraiture, street and architecture photography. For any enquiries regarding the catalogue please email me at email@example.com Come down and enjoy yourself! I would love to see you there!
We recently had the chance to talk to Zammit to find out more about his series.
Tell us a little about your background – what path led you to becoming a photographer?
“I guess I’ve always been behind camera, the roll kind of formed naturally… Throughout school, I was frequenting punk/hardcore shows shooting for the venue/artists/tour managers, surrounded by friends in both the graffiti and skate scene also – my approach to photography was very raw from the beginning.
“Working at a cafe saving money when I could, constantly trying to buy that next piece of gear. Attempting to create work that would resemble something taken on higher quality equipment and always looking for the next opportunity!”
How would you describe your work or your style of photography/videography?
“My main perspective of my work is that it’s a cinematically captured image of a raw moment. There’s usually very little curation (dependent on the project) – I’m looking for the best frame, rather than thinking about how I can compile images in post to ‘create’ something.
“My aesthetic and approach to capture has taken some time to morph into it’s current state, I have always wanted to have my work to be recognised without a watermark and visually representative of my brand. I’ve found a mix of how to capture in camera and treat in post to consistently keep a ‘look’ across all my work.
“I’m very fortunate to be in my current position. Working with some incredible clients, I’ve found my style is quite malleable and can be adapted depending on the content. I can’t find my profession as work, it’s an unbelievable reality for me – it only gets hard with the long nights and early mornings.”
What inspired you to do KOWLOON – In Transit.? And how did you go about making it?
“KOWLOON – In Transit. has been in the making for five years at this stage. With several visits to Hong Kong, the project transformed and became something much bigger than I originally intended.
“I was basing the body of work around my perspective of the chaotic, grimey, and incredibly beautiful city. However, I was subconsciously selecting images that more showcased vignetted moments that would otherwise be unseen from the public.
“Trying to visually represent Kowloon from multiple angles was the final outcome. I want this exhibition and zine release to appeal to locals who can appreciate my interpretation of their city and moments they would probably pass on the daily without a second thought.
“For those who have visited, to understand my perspective as a foreigner and relate to the imagery. And for those who have never been nor have interest in Hong Kong particular, to enjoy the work on face value as a street photography from this concrete playground which is Kowloon.”
What do you love most about Hong Kong? What makes you keep coming back to it?
“There’s very little I can fault about the city! The most obviously impactful aspect for me what the sheer scale and intensity on every corner. Hong Kong is the most densely populated city on earth and that is clearly represented in the architecture/infrastructure. I was hooked from the first visit, I needed to revisit and continue exploring the city.
“Upon my first visit I was involved in the abandoned exploration scene here in Sydney – so Hong Kong just presented itself as a playground and every street had a story I wanted to capture.”