Matthew Atkin records an endangered way of life in Hong Kong harbour


Matthew Atkin recently took this photos of Causeway Bay typhoon shelter as the sun was going down in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour recently, no doubt with his current favourite camera, a FujiFinepix X100.

Here’s what he says about the shots:

At one time (at least up to the late 80s) this area was absolutely full of sampans with people living on them.

I think this lifestyle so close to the centre of Hong Kong is about to go, as the inhabitants of these boats are likely to be ‘moved along’, and so I have been keen to photograph them before they go.

The boats are very close to the financial district of Hong Kong, and there is an enormous amount of construction going on around the few hardy souls who remain living next to huge cranes and under flyovers. However, I should point out that living under a flyover is considered much more positively here than in the UK.

I rather liked the sampan next to the yachts, which creates a striking juxtaposition between the haves and have-nots, and the guy eating his dinner.

The expensive boats all belong to the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club next door.

Also among this collection is the noonday gun, which is fired every day at noon – the idea used to be that it would enable sailors to know the time.  It is still fired by the property and investment group Jardine Mathieson, although it is now rather blocked from the harbour.

The gun was once fired by Noel Coward and is mentioned in his song Mad dogs and Englishmen.

Thanks for the photos brother Matt!

Matt Atkin photographs boats and river life in Cambodia, part 1




My brother Matt Atkin’s mission to photograph interesting boats and water-borne life throughout the Far East using his Fuju Finepix X100 continues with a mass of illuminating photos from near Siem Reap, Cambodia.

He tells me these shots are of the floating village of Tonle Sap on the River Mekong, which as well as floating homes, a floating school and shops, a floating church (it has a cross above in the photographs), and a temple. The entire village moves from time to time depending on the level of the river.

I must say I like the cute little outboard canoes driven by what could easily be petrol-driven strimmers, and intrigued by the shallows-dodging prop-rudder-steering doberries the larger boats have.

Keep out of the prop’s way, though, if you happen to fall in!

The next selection of shots from this collection will include kids in large washing bowls, and a hand-powered travelling shop.


Photographer Matt Atkin visits the stilt village of Kota Kinabalu, Borneo



Globe-trotting brother and photographer Matt Atkin has been on his holiday travels again, this time to Borneo, where he came across the extraordinary stilt-village community of  Kota Kinabalu.

Matt likes to use a miniature or small camera that he can carry easily, but insists that it should produce very high quality images. His current camera is a Fuji Finepix X100.

The photos themselves raise some interesting questions. If the sea around Borneo is sufficiently calm that this kind of near the water stilt living is practical (I wouldn’t want to try it off the coast of Kent!) why are the boats also on stilts? Could it be a precaution to prevent them being stolen?

And how do they get their boats up on those stakes? Presumably it’s all down to the tides, but if so, what’s the benefit of raising them on stilts for part of the time? And how big are the tides here anyway?

It’s interesting to see the use of outriggers made from bits of drainpipe. Home boat builders, please note.

Thanks for some amazing shots Matt! There will be more to come, of the local timber-built boats and of a fish market.