George is a documentary photographer originally from the East Midlands of England and now lives, works and studies in Aberdeen, Scotland. He is currently studying at the University of Aberdeen towards a degree in International Relations. George’s Photography focusses upon the lesser known and arguably overlooked outskirts of previously well documented and well known geographies. For example, he is currently engaged in a long term project that examines the variance in character throughout the outlying islands of Scotland and has recently completed a project that documents the New Territories of Hong Kong. More than simply avoiding clichés; the documentation of such areas, in his opinion, hold further significance. Since by nature they are prone to the most change when compared to their cultural and political centre counterparts, they provide the most honest picture of a place in that specific time and highlight the evolution and development of us as a society today.
Pushing the Envelope
Pushing the Envelope is a documentation of Hong Kong’s New Territories in the months approaching the 20th anniversary of the region’s handover of sovereignty. To outsiders, the ‘New Territories’ are practically unheard of though they account for more than 80% of the total land area and 52% of Hong Kong’s total population, these enigmatic and supposedly new areas perhaps shouldn’t be so. Beyond pure numbers of regional demographics; the New Territories are fundamentally as unique to Hong Kong as any city-scape you’ll find in Victoria and Kowloon. Remaining one of the most densely populated places in the world whilst still managing to retain three quarters of its land as ‘rural’ can be seen most clearly when in these seemingly ambiguous territories. Not only does the local steeply sided mountainous geography demand such a figure, Hong Kong uses a third of all it’s land as water catchment areas. The result is valleys filled with the towers of the ‘New Towns’ which themselves have only existed for no more than 30 years, rising up from the ground, piercing and sharing the skyline with the densely vegetated hills. As with everything Hong Kong, they create another duality. Despite not being on the global political and cultural agenda as the famous regions of Central and Mong Kok, Hong Kong’s history and current global standing and future fate all come as a result of this area’s unique past. Only ever being ceded to Britain on a 99-year lease, it is they that have effectively led to the modern day ‘Special Administrative Region’.
In Cantonese they’re called ‘Sān’gaai’ (新界) translating roughly to ‘The New Frontier’. Offering an atmosphere and culture seen often as closer to the rest of China thanks to their population usually being one generation closer to just that. Though this is the next Frontier of Hong Kong, one cannot be without the other, and they are unmistakably and inescapably part of a bigger picture.
To view more of George’s work please visit his website.