I’m always on the lookout for new photo books about Hong Kong, so when I heard about Michael Wolf’s new paperback, Informal Solutions: Observations in Hong Kong’s Back Alleys (WE Press, 2016), I knew I needed to buy it.
Hong Kong is often presented as a glitzy and glamorous international city on the underbelly of mostly-rustic mainland China. (Although some could argue that many mainland cities have surpassed Hong Kong in the glitz factor, most of China is still agrarian.)
But Hong Kong is so much more than Mercedes and YSL. This book celebrates everyday accommodations ordinary people take to make life easier. If Hong Kong is known for one thing, it’s efficiency.
The book is divided into more than dozen sections with bilingual English and Chinese text. Sections include: Carts, Clocks, Flora, Hanging Bags, Informal Seating, Lost Laundry, Mops, and Umbrellas, to name just some.
The photos are beautiful and each one deserves a full page, but unfortunately due to space limitations most are just this side of thumbnails.
Still, it’s a lovely collection of everyday Hong Kong and something that might not be around forever as mom and pop shops continue to disappear.