Cooperative of Photography

Hong Kong's Unspoken Narratives


Photo: Jonathan van Smit

Photographer Jonathan van Smit gave up a corporate career and left a quiet beach in New Zealand to move to Hong Kong. The photographer’s ongoing photo series of life in Hong Kong (and other parts of South East Asia) is deeply arresting, and his photos vary from drug-taking to prostitution and everything inbetween.

 “I aim for some sort of unspoken narrative in my photos so I think in terms of sequences of photos rather than a single shot,” says van Smit.

“I don’t see my work as autobiographical in any way, I’m just an observer rather than a participant. For example, I take photographs of drug use but I’ve never taken drugs. It’s not the actual drug use that interests me but the way people respond to adversity, and that interest stems from personal tragedy in my own life. The photos aren’t documentary either. They’re often so subjective that they can border on fiction.”

COOPH Jonathan Van Smit 01
COOPH Jonathan Van Smit 03
COOPH Jonathan Van Smit 04
COOPH Jonathan Van Smit 05
COOPH Jonathan Van Smit 06

Be sure to check out more shots on Jonathan van Smit's website

Written by Matthew Rycroft

You might like these as well

Related stories

Exhibition Review: Andy Warhol


Photo Factory at Fotografiska New York

PROFOLIO: Julia Buruleva (NSFW)


We asked Julia to walk us through some of her greatest and latest shots…

Load more awesomeness