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Blue Lotus Gallery : Stefan Irvine : Abandoned Villages of Hong Kong


Stefan Irvine‘s photo-book and solo exhibition, “Abandoned Villages of Hong Kong”, published by Blue Lotus Editions, is an invitation to explore the forgotten corners of this vibrant city, and to discover the haunting beauty that lies hidden within its parks and islands.

For centuries before the colonial era, Hong Kong’s population dwelled in isolated villages, subsisting mainly on farming or fishing. When better opportunities arose during the 1960s, many villagers found work in restaurants overseas or in the urban factories of Hong Kong. Meanwhile, their countryside houses – sometimes entire villages – were simply abandoned and left to be reclaimed by nature. Stefan’s photographs breathe new life into the crumbling facades and overgrown relics, allowing readers to witness the enduring charm of these abandoned homes.

With its documentary approach, this collection of photographs features many of Hong Kong’s most isolated settlements and is a testament to Stefan’s passion for capturing the essence of disappearing places. His careful research and deep appreciation for the subject shine through in every carefully composed image, unveiling the hidden narratives of structures frozen in time.

“In more remote parts of the territory, entire villages appear to have been abandoned overnight. Furniture and personal items remain untouched even decades later, giving precious insight into the lives of the families that once thrived there. Whether abandoned intentionally by villagers seeking their fortune overseas, or left behind due to unforeseen circumstances, these ruins now serve as a window into the past, providing us with clues to a way of life which has almost completely disappeared.” – Stefan Irvine

“Abandoned Villages of Hong Kong” is not just a tribute to the resilience of the Hong Kong people, but also a reflection on the impermanence of our existence. It is an invitation for an immersive experience, delving into the vanishing corners of this dynamic city. These photographs offer a poignant reminder of life’s transience and the lasting impact of those who came before us.

Born in London in 1976, Stefan Irvine has been based in Hong Kong since 2002. With a background in photojournalism and commercial photography, the last few years have seen him focus on fine art photography projects. Stefan’s photographs have been exhibited in New York, London and Hong Kong, as well as appearing in publications globally including The New York Times, National Geographic, Forbes, Rolling Stone, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the winner of the Independent on Sunday/Oxfam Photojournalist Award and was awarded 1st Place in the Architecture/Other category of the International Photography Awards 2020.


Stefan Irvine : Abandoned Villages Of Hong Kong
from January 12th to February 25th, 2024
Blue Lotus Gallery
G/F, 28 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong


Abandoned Villages Of Hong Kong 瓦落叢⽣ by Stefan Irvine
Published by Blue Lotus Editions Hong Kong, December 2023 Foreword by Douglas Young
With additional texts by Kim Li, Hannah Chung and Stefan Irvine
218 x 267 mmm, 64 colour plates, 112 pages, 0.72 kg Hardcover
English and Chinese
ISBN: 978-988-76192-1-5

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