Since its establishment in 2008 The Photographic Heritage Foundation has published the Hong Kong Heritage Calendar. Mostly the calendars feature images from the Foundation’s books.
The calendars are a valuable way to present photo heritage. Marketed as customized calendars, the print run varies from 5,000 upwards. Strong years see 7,000 to 8,000 calendar copies ordered by our corporate and organizational clients, often with repeat orders over many years.
Calendar feedback is always extremely positive. ‘The Hong Kong Heritage Calendar is fabulous and illuminating’, says one recipient. Another wrote: ‘In our digital age, your finely printed calendar is especially appreciated. It is my most memorable gift that I send to company clients in Hong Kong and overseas.’ One recipient commented: ‘Your calendar is eagerly awaited and enjoyed throughout each year.’
The calendars from 2019 back to 2013 are shown below, with their background photo stories. Calendars sourced from book photos are linked to their books.
Please contact the Foundation for calendar enquiries.
Minimum customized orders – 500 copies.
The 2019 calendar’s photos were taken by Leo White. A man of great talent, independence and energy, his two passions were photography and aviation. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, White began his working life as a newspaper photographer. In the late 1940s, White took these Hong Kong photos for Qantas Empire Airways (today’s QANTAS). An article in the January 1950 issue of Whites Aviation profiled the airline’s new route to Hong Kong. Thirty-six of Leo White’s Hong Kong photos, including some of this calendar’s images, illustrated the journal article. Leo White’s died in 1967, aged sixty-one.
In 2007 the Whites Aviation photographs – the legacy of Leo White – were acquired by the Alexander Turnbull Library. The Alexander Turnbull Library was established in 1920. Its role is to collect, preserve, protect and provide access to the documentary heritage of New Zealand. The Library is part of the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa.
The 2018 calendar’s photos are from the Ng Sui Cheong Collection, the family heritage of Camay Ng Wong. This hitherto unknown collection of Hong Kong photos, taken by Camay Wong’s father, Ng Sui Cheong, were brought to the attention of The Photographic Heritage Foundation by Victor Cha, himself a keen photographer. Excited by the range and historical significance of these images, the Foundation has begun to research Ng’s photos.
Ng’s images are unusual for various reasons, besides their visual and technical quality. He began photographing Hong Kong in the later 1930s and continued, as a serious amateur photographer, well into the 1960s. Thus, his images cover three decades. His photos include ‘salon’ landscapes and ‘documentary’ scenes with people. In both, his images highlight the meeting of ‘East and West’ that Hong Kong then – and still today – shows. Finally, while Ng’s background and profession were comfortable, as a photographer he reached out to capture the daily life of Hong Kong’s ordinary people.
The 2017 calendar was published in collaboration with the National Archives of Singapore, holder of the Marjorie Doggett Collection. It was kindly assisted by Nicholas Doggett, Marjorie’s son. The photographs portray Hong Kong’s harbour in 1956, captured by Marjorie Doggett. Images taken by Rogan Coles in 2016 make a telling contrast.
Victoria Harbour is the essence of Hong Kong. In the postwar era it was crowded with vessels that reflected the territory’s rapid economic growth and its industrial transformation. Ocean going cargo and passenger vessels were its lifeblood, assisted by countless cargo junks, sampans, lighters, barges, tugs, launches and ferries.
Marjorie Millest, born in England, arrived in Singapore in 1947, together with her future husband Victor Doggett. There Marjorie became a photographer. Singapore was to be their lifetime home. In 1956 they visited Hong Kong aboard the P & O liner Corfu. Although only in port for a few days, Marjorie recorded evocative images of Victoria Harbour – and these the 2017 calendar presents.
The 2016 calendar was published together with the Harvard-Yenching Library, Harvard University, repository of the Hedda Morrison Collection of China photographs. Morrison had captured Hong Kong in 1946 – 47. The calendar presents her images from the Foundation’s book, Hong Kong As It Was. Two of her subjects are contrasted with 2015 photographs taken by Rogan Coles.
Urban and social change always have been constants in Hong Kong, as the photos show. The back of the front cover compares dry fish sellers in 1946 and today. On another page we see Chai Wan – in 1946 a fishing and farming village, today a crowded residential and light industrial area.
The calendar shows how in 1946 – 47 Hong Kong had crowded city areas, but also rural lowlands and coasts. There, traditional farming and fishing endured. September, for example, reveals a wide expanse of lowland rice paddies – today the concreted domains of housing blocks, industrial areas and transport infrastructure.
HONG KONG AS IT WAS
The 2015 calendar was published together with the Harvard-Yenching Library, Harvard University. The photographs portray Hong Kong in 1946, as seen by Hedda Morrison, and as photographed in 2014 by Rogan Coles. The Morrison images are from the book Hong Kong As It Was.
Hedda Morrison’s images portray a spartan and energetic China coast port, then recovering from the ravages of war. Rogan Coles’ two present day images show Hong Kong as the international centre that it has become: vibrant, dynamic, cosmopolitan. Most aspects of Hong Kong have changed profoundly, yet some others show underlying continuity.
Skyline ridges frame some of Morrison’s and Coles’ photographs, with the latter seeking to replicate the former’s vistas. More surprising perhaps, especially for a city known for relentless change, is how social continuities can be discerned: the tone and pace of backstreet life; the energy evident in daily activities; and various cultural traditions.
HONG KONG AS IT WAS
The 2014 calendar was published in partnership with the Information Services Department, Hong Kong SAR Government, and The University of Hong Kong Libraries. The photographs portray Hong Kong in the early 1960s, as recorded in the government’s Annual Reports of 1960 – 62.
During the early postwar years the Annual Reports were originated by the Government Press, and later by the government’s Information Services Department. Sometimes called Yearbooks, for both periods the Annual Reports provide invaluable accounts of Hong Kong’s evolving society.
In addition to their informative texts, in the postwar years photographs were introduced. Initially the images were taken in black-and-white. In 1959 the government’s Public Relations Office became the Information Services Department. Soon after, from 1962 onwards, its photographers mostly worked in colour. They depicted the Colony for official, educational and economic reasons; for the Annual Reports; for trade and tourist promotion; and for public awareness campaigns.
The 2013 calendar was published in partnership with the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, given its mission to preserve the territory’s maritime and shipping heritage. The photographs were taken by Lee Fook Chee. Born in Singapore, after the war Lee had become a seaman. He arrived in Hong Kong in 1947 and here he ‘came ashore’.
Lee had virtually no education. In 1947 Hong Kong was struggling to overcome the disruptions of war. It was an unpromising place for a poor immigrant. But Lee was resolved and enterprising. Over some years he taught himself photography. Then, during the 1950s, Lee photographed the Colony’s places and people. Lee made a simple living selling his photos to tourists.
The Photographic Heritage Foundation, and Edward Stokes, met Lee Fook Chee in 2011. Later, his photographs and life were brought together to create the book Lee Fook Chee’s Hong Kong, researched and written by Patricia Chiu. Lee died before the publication of ‘his’ book. But, from a hospital bed, Lee Fook Chee saw – tightly held and delighted in – this calendar.
LEE FOOK CHEE’S HONG KONG