Where: We're looking over Aberdeen Harbour, on the south side of Hong Kong island. In the twentieth century, tourists would visit Aberdeen as part of a round-the-island sightseeing tour, making this a popular view for postcards.
The photographer had found a raised location to set up his camera. I'm guessing it was the cemetery above Aberdeen, as down in the bottom-left corner you'll see a white stone lion. They're often used as decoration on Chinese graves.
Who: Fishermen and their families, as most of the people in Aberdeen still lived on the water. There hasn't been much development on land yet - just a couple of streets in Aberdeen, and a few more buildings across the harbour on Ap Lei Chau.
What: Between the stone lion and the streets of Aberdeen we can see the Hope and Lamont dry-docks. On this day the dock gates are closed, but the docks are filled with water. Look over on their left and you'll see the chimney of the pump house.
Aberdeen only has a few streets in this photo. You can still see this same street layout today: the corner on the right foreground (to the left of the base of the "l" in the watermark - there's a truck there) is the junction of Wu Nam Street and Cheng Tu Road.
Here the buildings are simple three-storey terraces. Does anyone know if any of the three-storey buildings shown here or on Ap Lei Chau still exist?
Looking beyond the truck, we can see a couple of buses parked, then a curve where the road runs along the seafront and around the corner. If you've seen the 1950s film Love is a many splendored thing, you'll recognise that curve. The two main characters, Mark and Su-Yin, drive around here before catching the small boat over to the floating restaurant in the harbour.
Above Aberdeen Town is a dark, two-storey building, then the Aberdeen Police Station. Beyond that you can see the curved roof of the Holy Spirit Seminary. Both buildings are still standing today. The main peak in the photo is that of Brick Hill, today the site of Ocean Park.
Moving round to the right, and we see Ap Lei Chau island. There's an area of reclaimed land along the shore. Probably only recently reclaimed, given that it hasn't all been built on yet.
In the harbour there's a mix of smaller sampans, and larger junks. You can see several of the larger junks have their fishing nets hanging up to dry.
Finally in the lower right corner is a pier, leading to what looks like a tended garden area. Was this all part of the dockyard's land?
When: A copy of this photo appears in the book "A century of Hong Kong Island Roads and Streets", dated c.1925. However we know that the Holy Spirit Seminary was completed in 1931, so c.1935 seems more likely. Can anyone date the reclamation work on Ap Lei Chau? That may help narrow down the date.