Little Hong-Kong 2

Two weeks ago, I went to Paris to attend the Tokyo Sense exhibition by Elizabeth Char. I allowed myself this little trip in the capital before attacking the last preparations for the move. I was hosted at Eli for the occasion. She lives in the 14th arrondissement of Paris a few streets from the 13th. When I was a student, I used to spend my holidays at my uncle’s house who lived in Athis-Mons. I remember a few trips to Tang Frères, the great specialist in Asian imports that is in the middle of in Paris Chinatown. Moreover it is rather an Asian district with mainly Vietnamese because the Chinese are rather on the side of Belleville and Le Sentier.



I vaguely remembered the neigborhood. I decided to spend some time in this area to try to discover it and for the occasion to do some Street Photography. It was Saturday and it was swarming with people. What captivated me was these huge building blocks. I spotted an escalator that seemed to lead to a rather shabby mall. Besides, most shops had the curtain lowered. I continued to wander through these dirty and empty hallways and I ended up on a large esplanade in the middle of these famous towers. I learned later that this place was called Les Olympiades. In relation of course to the Olympic Games. There was a flea market that day and there were people everywhere. What interested me most of all was these gigantic towers. I had a hard time making photos by integrating people as well as towers.



I took a little height by taking a small staircase that led to the roof of the small mall. It was another esplanade that allowed me to have a much better view of this set of towers and bars that date back to 1960. The show was striking and it’s like a little Hong Kong. I stayed a moment to contemplate this urban landscape. Some children had fun playing football on the esplanade, but I did not want to be too intrusive to take pictures of them. The neighborhood is relatively popular and poor and it seemed to me that there was a red line not to cross. I just made pictures of this place by incorporating them into my compositions.



I continued my wanderings in the middle of the esplanade Les Olympiades gleaning here and there some pictures. While looking for a place to have a snack, I came across a large parking lot where crowded with a lot of people. I stayed there for a moment because the place was ideal for  photos. I was inspired by a photographer that I like very much (@YiannisYiasaris) by positioning myself very low to take low-angle shots. I wanted to show the verticality of the place.



I enjoyed walking in this area because it breathed life and it was authentic. People come here to do their shopping. It does not seem to me to have crossed many tourists. It is also a very exotic place. We even feel from time to time not to be in France because the people around me spoke languages that flourished Asia.



All the photographs were made with the Ricoh GR in Paris.



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2 thoughts on “Little Hong-Kong

  • John Harper

    I wouldn’t recognise this as Paris, particularly with that opening shot, a really good photograph by the way Jeff and the viewer gets feel for the place. Also I like very much the boy with a red football, the colours are superb in that shot. Difficult to get in close I imagine, it’s not a tourist spot, nor does it look very busy.

    Always an interesting read from you Jeff. Cheers.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      It doesn’t look like Paris indeed. That’s what I like in this neighbourhood. Not to be in these touristic overcrowded places. More authentic. That’s what I was looking for. The thing is that you need to adapt your way of shooting in these places. No rushing into people but I had to concentrate more on composition