1941 Hong Kong : the Harrison Forman Collection of photos
I was very excited when I stumbled across the collection of photographer Harrison Forman. There are over 300 photographs taken in Hong Kong in 1941!
It is very diffcult to find photos from this period, as it was just before the Japanese invaded in December 1941. Much of Hong Kong's photographic record was destroyed during the fighting and the years of hardship that followed.
The result is that if you go searching for photos of this time, the same few turn up again and again. But I don't recognise any of these! Although the photos are very well indexed, and the website is easy to use, I think they are hidden from Google, and so have kept a low profile.
The records give the year of the photos as 'circa 1941', but don't give any more exact date. I guess he must have stayed in Hong Kong until fairly late in the year. Some of the photos show buildings with sandbags piled up outside, so they certainly knew that trouble was coming. After a bit more searching, we think they were taken during Sep - Nov 1940, and in Sep 1941.
The photos themselves are good quality, as Forman was a professional photographer. Of immediate interest to me are over 20 photos of Air Raid Tunnels in various stages of construction. So that immediately more than doubles the number of photos of the subject I've been able to find. But the photos cover all topics and areas of Hong Kong, so I think anyone with an interest in 1940s Hong Kong will find them well worth a visit.
The Harrison Forman Photo Collection contains over 3,800 prints and over 300 negatives. This is a fraction of the total Forman collection, sized at 98,000 images, most of which are in 35mm slide format. While the geographical coverage between the slides and photo collections is similar, the photo collection contains Forman’s early work including his Tibet imagery, the Sino-Japanese War, Chinese Civil War, the Henan Famine, and the Blitzkrieg of Poland.