Martin Stavar’s photographs from his ‘City Of Neon lights’ series brings me back to my former home, where my family lived for over 17 years, Hong Kong. Like many people who visit Hong Kong Stavar became overwhelmed by the neon signs that are everywhere, ubiquitous, one on top of one another, emblazoned characters selling everything and anything you can think of.
The neon construct of Hong Kong is truly incredible and Stavar’s use of long exposures and harsh black and white tones only serve to highlight their bold, brash personalities bringing to mind the romance and mystery of Asia and the films of Bruce Lee, John Woo and Wong Kar-wai. Here’s what he has to say about his work:
Lately, my interests widened to cityscapes, where I pursue qualities characteristic to nature – harmony and peace. As it is getting harder to find traits like that in our more and more hectic world, while taking pictures in the biggest European cities I had to develop the most important virtue of a photographer – patience. That is one of the reasons why there are usually no people (or only their silhouettes) on most of my photographs. But such character of my work is also a result of other factor. Whereas taking pictures with the main focus on a person involves emotions that are relatively easy to define, depicting an empty street or portraying pulsing nature usually requires qualitatively different feelings that have to fill in for the missing elements, thus making such photograph something more than a simple document.