City of Darkness
Girard spent five years capturing the anarchic architecture of the lawless Kowloon Walled city. His images expose a throbbing mass of twisting artery-like hallways, chaotic catacombs and crumbling stairways that encapsulate the city’s accidental evolution.
Greg Girard’s photographs reflect the social transformation of the city, showing lives and experiences that, while extraordinary for us, are mundane and every day for the homes, businesses and communities that somehow thrived within the complexity of Kowloon’s walls.
Demolished in 1994, the former Qing dynasty fortress defied its historical confinement through human ingenuity, housing an estimated 33,000 people within the space of just one single city block. Even today the fascination in Kowloon Walled City continues to grow, stimulated by the many urban legends that forever circle around this extraordinary lawless community.
The project arose through a chance encounter. “I stumbled across it,” Girard says. “I had heard of it years previously, but never seen a picture of the place or met any who had been there. “One night I was photographing near Hong Kong’s old international airport when I came round a corner and saw this big thing that was so different from anything else, that it had to be the walled city”.