This site presents The Photographic Heritage Foundation’s vision, objectives and plans. Our books and publications connect photography and heritage. The Foundation aims to leave an indelible mark on Asian historical photographic publishing. Scroll down to see our vision statement.

We believe, deeply, that every generation rests on the shoulders of its forerunners. Publishing and disseminating photographs of Asia that show this, and which bridge the generations, are our driving forces. Especially given today’s fast changing digital communications, our projects have enduring value. The Photographic Heritage Foundation’s operations and publishing programme are focused on important parts of Asia.

The Foundation’s projects, which seek to publish landmark books, are developed in partnership with governments, institutions, corporations and philanthropists. The personal legacy aspect of the Foundation’s mission is reflected in our donor relationships. We offer proven, rewarding avenues for our partners to contribute through our publications to their societies and local heritage, and to share our memorable photo publishing journey.

John Thomson, a pioneering Asia photographer, wrote in 1891: ‘We are now making history, and the sun picture supplies the means of passing down a record of what we have achieved.’

Helmuth Hennig
Chairman



The 2011 launch of The 2011 launch of Heung Shing Gu Ying, the Chinese edition of Hong Kong As It Was. Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration, Hong Kong SAR Government (then Development Secretary); Bernard Charnwut Chan, Foundation Patron and book sponsor; and Helmuth Hennig, Foundation Chairman.


The 2015 launch of Lee Fook Chee’s Hong Kong. Dr Charles Yeung, founder of the GS Charity Foundation and book sponsor; to the left, Bernard Charnwut Chan, Foundation Patron; Helmuth Hennig, Foundation Chairman; and to the right, Edward Stokes, Foundation Founder and Publisher.

Our Photo Heritage Vision

‘The Photographic Heritage Foundation’s initiative ensured the preservation of Lee Fook Chee’s unique photographic collection – which otherwise might very easily have been lost forever. Publication of the Foundation’s superbly reproduced Lee Fook Chee book opens our eyes to 1950s Hong Kong. I am sure the Foundation’s future books, including those on Singapore, will be equally outstanding.’ Bernard Charnwut Chan, Patron, The Photographic Heritage Foundation

‘The Foundation’s books have class and creativity, and an intimacy that resonates. With their independence, authority and superb reproduction, they are the pre-eminent Hong Kong photo histories.’ Dr Peter Cunich, Historian, The University of Hong Kong

To date The Photographic Heritage Foundation has only scratched the surface of Asia’s record of historical photographs. With greater support, its books, exhibitions, online and outreach offer a unique opportunity to share and perpetuate Asia’s photographic heritage. There is a compelling need to preserve and communicate Asia’s photo heritage. These historical photographs, rich in diversity and revealing in the mirror they hold up to rapidly changing Asian societies, are a precious and often endangered record. Many of these images languish in archives scattered across the world, while others lie undiscovered in homes and private collections. Few have had the exposure that they and their often unknown creators deserve. Yet such images illuminate, better than anything else, how the past has created Asia’s present.

The Foundation was established to respond to this need. It seeks out little-known or unknown photographic collections, and shares them through books, exhibitions and online. It also engages with communities through talks and outreach. The Foundation believes passionately that Asia’s historical photos deserve perpetuating and communicating. At the heart of The Photographic Heritage Foundation is an active book publishing programme. Digital archives and publication play an important role. However, we believe that books, beautifully designed and produced, with narratives informed by rigorous research, have the greatest impact and the most lasting cultural value. The Foundation’s publications, such as Hedda Morrison’s Hong Kong (re-published as Hong Kong As It Was) and Lee Fook Chee’s Hong Kong, published with generous funding support from The Hong Kong Jockey Club and Dr Charles Yeung, respectively, have been recognized as landmarks of photographic publishing – and as valuable contributions to local and regional social history. Equally important are the efforts the Foundation makes to rescue and preserve the photographic collections that it uncovers. Secure conservation of fragile negatives and prints in public museums, libraries or archives ensures they are preserved for posterity and also available for further research. Digital, high resolution scans on public websites make them available to audiences across Asia and worldwide. The Foundation’s efforts, for example, led to Lee Fook Chee’s photos being brought to institutional attention. In Singapore, the Foundation has been the pathfinder for Marjorie Doggett’s invaluable 1950s photographs and documents being donated to the National Archives of Singapore.

Website concept and texts: Edward Stokes
Website concept and design: Graphicat Limited
Image scanning: Color Six Laboratories Limited
Text and compilation copyright: The Photographic Heritage Foundation Limited
Photo copyrights: see Credits