Richard Mark Dobson

Neonopolis

In this series Dobson revisits his former home, Hong Kong, with the observation on the big city life and changing political landscape of the place. He witnesses people dashing through pouring rain along wet, congested Wan Chai streets and pavements shimmered with iridescent hues, flashing through his mind the cinematic fantasies that he believes things seem to have come full circle.

Twenty years after the handover from British to Chinese rule, twenty years after Dobson left, the city once again enraptures him. Just as the notorious walled city of Kowloon inspired the bleak, neon-soaked, perpetually dank and rain-soaked dystopia of Blade Runner, so does its sequel now cede to the alternate reality of Neonopolis – a realm strangely futuristic all the while rooted in the present. He sees around him towering skyscrapers, examples of extreme wealth. He witness legions of office workers oblivious to their predicament, hypnotised by their smart phones and commuters devouring social media piped into their brains via hand held devices.

Dobson’s work touches on social commentary through photography that confronts our reality. Taking the basic principle of street photography, Dobson captures reality as it happens. His images are paired here with the original writing of Jason Gagliardi, so as to warp that reality into a quasi fictional narrative akin to a science fiction film.

“Through a glass darkly, I hold up a mirror to the twisted skeins of stories being played out on the seething streets. Welcome to Neonopolis.”


About the artist

Photographer Richard Mark Dobson was born in West Yorkshire in 1963 and emigrated to South Africa in 1975. He completed graphic design at the prestigious Johannesburg College of Art before he moved to London where his interest in photography began in 1986. During the time he assisted one of London’s most acclaimed advertising photographers, Dobson developed a keen appreciation for photographic craft and technique. He opened his first photographic studio in Hong Kong in 1990 and worked closely for both local and international magazine and corporate clients, with extensive trips into China and the Asia Pacific. He regards his vocation to be a hybrid of social documentary & travel, with a flair for creative and visually compelling corporate, industrial and advertising photography. He believes it was through the camera that he could ultimately fulfil his dream to ‘wander the globe’. He participated in exhibitions in Saigon and South Africa, and his works are in various collections such as Cathay Pacific Airlines, HSBC and New York Times.

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