Dustin Shum

A Labyrinth in the Dark
Location: Hong Kong
Nationality: Hong Kong
Biography: Dustin Shum was born and currently lives in Hong Kong. He graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Degree in Photographic Design.  A photojournalist for more than ten years, he now works... read on
Public Story
A Labyrinth in the Dark
Copyright dustin shum 2021
Date of Work 12/31/69 - 12/31/69
Updated 01/06/20
A Labyrinth in the Dark: Kowloon Walled City

After its demolition in 1993, the Kowloon Walled City remains a fascinating architectural and urban phenomenon that continues to captivate architects and designers around the world. Once considered to be the densest place on earth, the Walled City represented an unusual colonial wrinkle in time and space that eventually grew to support a complex array of manufacturing operations, food and textile production, illicit activities, and residential units.

This series of photos was taken in 1992, the very last moments before the demolition. While majority of the residents had already moved out and left the spaces deserted there were still a number of them resist to stay and kept on their living and business there. For me the walled city itself was a bigger symbol, it summed up our city in the so-called "Post-transition" period of the colonial era before the sovereignty handover to China in 1997: people were eager to escape, chaos awaited to be patched up or otherwise cleared out, etc. The labyrinth like environment inside the walled city echoed my angst and insecureness of my younger self at that time, enough those feelings still stick to my mind even today.


Also by Dustin Shum —


Photogenic Olympians

By Dustin Shum / Beijing, China — "Photogenic Olympians" - the people and the city in Beijing Olympics 2008 The 2008 Beijing..


By Dustin Shum / Hong Kong — Past interviews or reportage of my exhibitions from various printed media. Please click to enlarge. 

Themeless Parks

By Dustin Shum / Guangdong Province, China — It isnae Disney! In the lunar new year of 2006, a peak season for mainland tourists, Hong Kong Disneyland..

Life and Times

By Dustin Shum / Hong Kong — The police knocked on my door twice At home one afternoon, I heard a knock on my door. Since I rarely get..


By Dustin Shum / Hong Kong — Home in the Blocks Walking by a newly built public housing estate one day, I saw families happily moving..

A Shopping Mall Odyssey

By Dustin Shum / Guangdong Province, China — 20XX: A Shopping Mall Odyssey  Not long before he died, the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il..
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