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Mel Schockner
Photographer of 3-D Fine Art & Craft

Hong Kong

In the Fall of 1966, I was stationed aboard the anti-submarine warfare aircraft carrier, USS Kearsarge, CVS-33.  The ship was in SE Asia and travelled from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to Japan, The Philippines, Tonkin Gulf (Vietnam) and Hong Kong.

We went to Hong Kong Harbor to get the ship painted and provide much needed R and R to the Airmen, Marines and Sailors aboard.  With an abundance of leave on the books, I put in for a week of shore leave and was granted this wonderful opportunity of a lifetime.  I had seen the movie, "The World of Suzie Wong" starring William Holden and Nancy Quan and was fascinated by every aspect of that exciting city as portrayed in that classic film.   Needless to say I didn't find Suzie but I was instantly immersed in the seemingly endless bustle of the exotic place.  This was all before the transformation of Hong Kong into contemporary architecture.  

The harbor was filled with Chinese junks, ferries large and small, freighters from all over the globe and ships from the navies of several countries. People lived on boats in Aberdeen by the harbor and there was every kind of activity on the many docks around the city which was on Victoria Island. While there was some new construction taking place in various parts of Hong Kong, there was still the "old architecture". Buildings teeming with apartments above stores that sold almost every conceivable bit of merchandise and food. These were definitely not the kinds of places I had experienced before.

The streets were teeming with people and, a lot of the cars that roamed them were, Jaguars.  Yes, I said Jaguars.  What a contrast!!  I was so excited, fascinated and overwhelmed by what I saw that my camera became a part of my body and soul.  I recorded as many images as I could knowing that I might never have an opportunity like this again.  Of course being a U.S. Navy photographer helped me to "see" and to "compose" in artful ways.  I found many beautiful compositions combining the people with the elements of their surroundings.  To accomplish this, I used a Mamiya C-33 twin lens reflex camera that used 120mm roll film and had interchangeable lenses.

Select and image below to view a slideshow of this gallery.

All artwork © 1985 - 2011 Mel Schockner