In this new photographic series by Tom Leighton he explores the incredible architecture of Hong Kong. This body of work focuses on structures that are built to extremes of beauty and functionalism and sit so densely packed, they can give the impression of an impenetrable facade.
Hong Kong, a small city island, one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Here, space is scarce and precious – and the most logical way to use it is upwards. Dominated by incredible feats of architectural engineering design and function, the urban centre is densely packed skyline perfection, framed impressively by Victoria Harbour and the mountainous landscape. It is not just the glossy hyper-modern façades that are beautiful.
Equally, the geometric rhythm and pure repetitive scale of the ‘stacked’ residential living has become a symbolic and visually admired aspect of the growth of Hong Kong. Whether designed to represent prosperity or practicality, these imposing exteriors reveal little of the inner workings of the transition from fishing villages to a global financial centre.
Tom Leighton is an artist, photographer and printmaker. Fascinated by the urban environment, he has photographed and worked with iconic and hidden architecture world-wide. He layers and manipulates images to build increasingly elaborate megastructures, asking how our cities will cope and change with expanding populations, and how these populations will live and move within these urban centres. He has photographed both ancient cities and the newest cities built on land reclaimed from the sea.
Trained at the Royal College of Art, London, Leighton expertly manipulates images to allow us to imagine alternative cities of the present and the future. He seeks beauty in everything, from functional buildings to the most ornate architecture. He repeats motifs in unexpected places, repositions existing structures and contrasts the natural and the artificial: bright city lights set against natural night skies, concrete against greenery, business against eerie nighttime stillness. Leighton asks us to reconsider our cities, what they are and what they might become. He pushes us to notice the beauty inherent in these populated places, the architecture and our place within it. At once futuristic and reflective, Leighton’s work demands multiple takes.