Chances are you’ve heard of the Kowloon Walled City. You’ve probably seen photos of it, too. Some of those photos may have been from one of its most renowned Western photographers, Greg Girard.
The Walled City was located in Hong Kong, built hundreds of years ago. Throughout its long history it changed hands between the Chinese and the British, mostly left to its own devices. Due to this, it almost developed by itself – separated from the society outside its walls – allowing the Chinese mafia to run the show and most of its inhabitants to fend for themselves. Living there appeared to be a lesson in survival and self-sufficiency.
As an outsider it feels a shame that this anomaly, this microcosm of a proto-cyberpunk society, was torn down in 1993-94. A park and tennis courts now exist in its place. Yeah, I know…
While it was still the Walled City, Greg Girard visited it and took some great photos. Spending most of his career in Asia, he has been examining “the social and physical transformations taking place throughout the region.”
City of Darkness, a photo book by Greg Girard and Ian Lambot dedicated to the Walled City, was published back in 1993. With interest in the subject only growing over the years, perhaps partly due to the popularity of Cyberpunk, their new City of Darkness: Revisited was Kickstarted and published earlier this year and is now available for international delivery.
Below is a selection of his (Kowloon Walled) city photography. It really shows that this place was one in a million.