When Jackie Peers arrived in Hong Kong in 2005, she thought she might give her cameras a rest after 15 years running a busy photographic studio in Christchurch, New Zealand. But intrigued by the mystery and beauty of the uninhabited villages she kept stumbling upon on her walks, she couldn’t resist their photographic appeal.
A number of themes pervade the images in this exhibition. One is serendipity. The household goods and personal effects featured here have not been arranged or manipulated in any way. They are truly objets trouvé – still-life compositions that have waited patiently for several decades to be revealed by an appreciative eye.
Another is mystery. So many of the houses she visited have an air of sudden abandonment; with letters, books, family photos, clothes and ornaments lying undisturbed where they were left by their owners, like relics from the Mary Celeste. Who were these people, where did they go and how did they fare?
There is a something of the archivist's instinct here too. For example, one day in May Jackie admired a beautiful wooden rice winnower and wondered if it should be housed in a museum. When she returned a couple of weeks later she found that it – and a number of other items – had been crushed under a collapsed wall. There is a sense of fragility and impermanence in the scenes she is documenting.
But what she found most compelling of all were simply the colours and the textures. These are not the bold, shiny surfaces of modern Hong Kong. They are shades and textures that sing an evocative song of bygone days.
Limited Edition prints are available of the following works,
these can be framed or unframed.
Panoramic - 23 cm and 45 cm width prints
Full frame images - 30 cm and 45 cm width prints
Edition of 20.
Photography workshops and weaving workshops with Jackie Peers in New Zealand