Back to All Events

Ho Fan, R.I.P. (1931-2016)

PRESS RELEASE, Hong Kong, 21 June 2016 (6pm)

'Internationally acclaimed photographer and film director Ho Fan passes away at 84 in United States on 19 June 2016.'

Ho Fan, celebrated photographer and film director aged 84, passed away on 19 June, 2016 (Sunday) in San Jose, California, United States surrounded by his close family due to a bout of pneumonia. A small private will be held with close relatives and family only. 

(Condolences can be sent to Sarah Greene which will be passed on to the family.  Blue Lotus Gallery, 1606 Chai Wan Industrial City Phase 1, 60 Wing Tai Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong)

"It's with great sadness to announce Hong Kong's most beloved street photographer Ho Fan has passed away last Sunday surrounded by his close family in the hospital of San Jose. He is to date the most phenomenal talent I ever worked with. It was my outmost privilege to have the opportunity to work with the artist and contribute to restoring his well deserved fame and glory in Hong Kong. His photography capturing Hong Kong in the 50's and 60's through his unique visual language of light and shadow provides an important humanistic record of that time and era. I learned so much from him and still do every day. I will miss him dearly. He was truly magic." [Sarah Greene / Blue Lotus Gallery]

Ho Fan enjoyed three distinctive careers: a celebrated photographer, Shaw Brothers actor and an acclaimed film director

Ho Fan, nicknamed ‘the great master’ earned his fame as one Asia’s most beloved street photographers capturing Hong Kong in the 50’s and 60’s. 

Ho Fan’s photographic career started in Shanghai at the early age of 14 when given his camera for his birthday from his father. Within the first year he won his first award. In 1949, at the age of 18, Ho Fan’s parents moved to Hong Kong where the young Ho Fan continued pursuing his love for photography.

Dubbed the ‘Cartier-Bresson of the East’ he captured the ‘decisive moment’; very often a collision of the unexpected, framed against a very clever composed background of geometrical construction and texture. He often created drama and atmosphere with backlit effects or through the combination of smoke and light. His favorite locations were the streets, alleys and markets of Hong Kong around dusk.

What made his work so intensely human is his love for the common Hong Kong people; coolies, vendors, hawkers selling fruits and vegetables, kids playing in the street or doing their homework, people crossing the street… He never intended to create a historic record of the city’s buildings and monuments; rather he aimed to capture the soul of Hong Kong; the hardship and resilience of its citizens. 

Ho Fan was most prolific in his teens and 20’s and created his biggest body of work before he reached the tender age of 28. His work didn’t go by unnoticed at his time. He won close to 300 local and international awards and titles in his day through competing in the salons. His talent was also spotted by the film industry where he started out as an actor before moving to film directing until retiring at 75. 

Ho Fan is a Fellow of the Photographic Society and the Royal Society of Arts in England, and an Honorary Member of the Photographic societies of Singapore, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy and Belgium. During his long career he has taught photography and film making at a dozen universities worldwide. His work is in many private and public collection of which most notable are: M+ Museum, Hong Kong, Heritage Museum, Hong Kong, Bibliothèque National de France, Paris, France, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, USA, The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA.

In front of the cameras, he was most notably as the monk in Shaw Brothers' lusty four-part adaptation of the classic novel ''The Monkey Goes West'', ''Princess Iron Fan'' (1966), ''Cave of the Silken Web'' and ''The Land of Many Perfumes''.

Ho became a full-time director after leaving Shaw Brothers in 1969, making a name in the erotic field with his experimental film ''Mi'' (1970), which was screened at the Cannes and Berlin Film Festivals, and the commercial feature ''Adventure in Denmark'' (1973). Ho Fan's ''Temptation Summary'' (1990) was the first 'Category III' picture to surpass HK$10 million ad the box office. He won the “Best Film Award” in Banbury International Film Festival in England. Three of his films have received the “Official Selection” of the International Film Festivals of Cannes, Berlin and San Francisco; and five of his films have been selected in the “Permanent Collection” of the National Film Archives of Taiwan and Hong Kong. He has also been elected as “judge” of the Taiwan Golden Horse Film Festival and Hong Kong Oscar Film Award.

It is this diverse cultural background that makes Fan Ho’s creative style so unique, full of lyrical beauty, dramatic power, and poetic grandeur. 


This press release is distributed by Blue Lotus Gallery & Consultancy, Hong Kong with support of Ada Wang | WE PRESS. 

For more info and images please contact: | Sarah Greene | + 852 6100 1295

Handled by IMPACT MEDIA:  for enquiries (chinese), please contact:

潘麗瓊 Carmen Poon:35904775/ 90772790

歐陽玲 Kennix Au-Yeung: 35902694/ 94918732


+ + +

Chinese Version:


六月十九日於美國病逝  享年八十四歲



何藩先生憑「Fan Ho」之名在國際攝影界打響名堂,曾奪得近三百個地區和國際性獎項,其作品亦獲世界各地的博物館收藏,包括香港M+博物館、香港文化博物館、法國國家圖書館、美國三藩市現代藝術博物館及澳洲墨爾本海事博物館等。他亦是英國皇家攝影學會及英國皇家藝術學會會員,以及多國攝影學會榮譽會員,包括新加坡、阿根廷、巴西、德國、法國、意大利及比利時,去年獲中國第二屆全球華人攝影大獎頒發「年度致敬人物獎」。


何藩晚年出版《Hong Kong Yesterday》、《The Living Theatre》及《A Hong Kong Memoir》攝影集,結集畢生經典作品,流傳後世。