HK-Based Photographers & Artists to Watch Out For

Nana Team
21 October, 2020

Let these Hong Kong photographers and artists take you on a tour through their eyes – and lenses! Shots of HK’s moody streets and dramatic cityscapes pepper social media, yet we still can’t get enough of them. But if you think you’ve seen it all, a wave of urban photographers and artists are here to prove you wrong. Armed with DSLRs, tripods and seriously mind-blowing illustrations and painting skills, these local artists and photographers take on the streets of Hong Kong for the ‘gram. Follow these five Hong Kong photographers and artists on IG and you’ll be adding their contacts to your speed dial. 

Ali Ghorbani @aligphoto

Ali Ghorbani’s tryst with photography began at the tender age of 16 when his uncle gave him his first 35mm camera just before his family travelled to Berlin, Germany in 1989. It was the fall of the Berlin Wall and he was there with a hammer and a camera, breaking down the wall and taking pictures!

Mentored by Henry Dallal, the portrait photographer of Queen Elizabeth, and Ashraf Talaat of National Geographic, he’s developed a keen eye for great shots, a natural flair for composition and a knack for superb storytelling – whether it’s an emotional bride on her wedding day or someone he’s just met on the street.

His impressive portfolio covers stars, corporate portraits, campaigns, weddings, product shots and so much more! We love how his personal passion for photographing dancers led him to creating an artistic calendar dedicated to a charity supporting women. Empowering these women three years in a row, the calendar photos are shot worldwide with the help of sponsors. What’s more, he’s currently working on a project to photograph strangers that he meets randomly on his walks with his mobile phone!  

Although you’d usually find him behind his Nikon for his professional work, we adore how he embraces various mobile phones such as Apple’s iPhone, Huawei, and Samsung for his day-to-day content creation and personal photography. He has also started his own YouTube channel in order to share tips and tricks for mobile phone photography – now isn’t that what we all need in this Insta-era! 

Tiana Kotti @tianakotti 

Just take a look at Tianna Kotti’s IG feed for some much-needed fashion inspiration. Brought up by parents within the same field, she was always exposed with the right angles her mom hit with her lenses whilst her dad produced and filmed a number of documentary movies. So, it comes as no surprise that Tiana pursued photography. 

Capturing stunning mood shots and strong fashion images seems to be the name of her game, but what sets her apart from the rest is her style that is a well-balanced mix of soft, romantic and ethereal. Amongst her endless photoshoots, her most memorable project was when she travelled to the beaches of Thailand and Indonesia to shoot for a French swimwear brand. 

When it comes to her inspiration, she enjoys scrolling through Insta accounts of the best makeup artists, photographers, videographers, models and so on. With eye-grabbing visuals, conceptual shoots and familiar references to life, Kotti creates images that evoke curiosity, purpose and humour using Canon 5D Mark4, canon lens 24-70, 24-105, Profoto A1 lights and her incredible retouching skills.

Her eclectic style is the product of her ever-evolving spontaneous creativity that’s inspired during the shoot – and we are in awe of how wonderful she is at putting her muse at ease – even when it’s a shy toddler. To her, maternity shoots are an opportunity to feel fantastic and feminine (whether in a ball gown or t-shirt and jeans). While a family portrait session with her promises to reflect the real heart of your family, giving you and your loved ones personal art to treasure for years to come.

Kitty Wong @kittynwong

It’s not just about photos, illustrations are a huge thing too and Kitty Wong’s artwork will definitely wow you! As a kid she always loved to draw, and she dreamt of becoming a fashion designer. Fast forward a few decades, after finishing her degree in fashion design and getting her first job in the industry, she realized it wasn’t all that. In her head it was all sketching a la Karl Largerfeld and prepping for fashion shows, but in reality, it was more schlepping to the factories and chasing down when the samples would finally be ready. It was then that she discovered her true calling: fashion illustrations. 

Most recently, she was invited by Tiffany & Co. to create a floral fashion art workshop for their in-store guests. Stations were set up inside a few of their Hong Kong stores and she painted portraits for their VIPs and taught them to embellish the portraits using real flowers. 

Most of her inspiration comes from our amazing city – from the colours of the buildings, the people and the delicious food to Kitty’s childhood memories of growing up in this city. 

For her paintings, she mostly works in an opaque watercolour called gouache. We love the beautiful matte texture it gives; when she uses it to paint portraits, it almost looks like the faces are wearing powder! So, get your hands on some of her artwork – especially her iPhone cases, or better still, get her to illustrate you! 

Anna Salenko @annasalenko_art

Like any true artist, Anna Salenko has mastered the art of palette knife painting through trial and error. Back in university, her specialization was closer to fashion rather than painting or art. She believed her sudden interest for palette knife painting and oil paintings to be a whim, but when she received a hardcover sketchbook, she was hooked, carrying it wherever she went.  

She has two favourite palette knives. One is a big, oblong, rectangular palette knife and the other one is a drop shape palette knife, which is small and flexible. She chooses a palette knife based on several criteria: quality of a knife (toughness and flexibility of the steel), size (how comfortable it is to hold a knife); and how fast she’ll be able to work using the knife. When it comes to paints, she prefers French oils paints as its quality has withstood the test of time! 

Her current focus is on the work in her studio, which leads to many collaborations, including Conrad Hong Kong Hotel’s 30th anniversary. During her staycation there, she created a collection of 30 paintings showcasing her experiences. 

She loves the emotions she feels each time she paints Hong Kong, her constant muse. Needless to mention that her artworks are a must-have in your homes and office, or better still, engage in a DIY at her on-going workshops. 

Joyce Yung @yungjoyce

Joyce Yung started out as a hobbyist photographer but has chalked up a reputable resume under her belt. She’s had an affinity for cameras and taking pictures since she was young, but she never realized that it was something she could make a profession of. Her extensive travel and exploration of different cultures helped create her aesthetic sense. 

One of her most impressive projects was a light painting photography artwork and exhibition collaboration with U.S. street artist Kelsey Montague. They did a collaboration in Malibu, California where Yung did light painting photography whilst Montague was doing her signature drawing ‘with light’. The selected artworks were printed and exhibited in a Hong Kong art gallery and in that year’s Affordable Art Fair. 

Her inspiration comes from just having the time to experience, research, reflect and formulate. In general, traveling, walking around town, going to museums and looking at other artworks all help trigger something in her mind. She likes to really spend the time to look at things closer and appreciate that item, scene or people interacting. All this is beautifully reflected in her snaps – whether it’s her soft portraits of people that evoke a heart-warming effect or knowing exactly when the image is rife with life. 

For the shutterbugs out there, she usually shoots with Canon 5D M3 but has recently switched to the Canon EOS R system. Additionally, she uses a variety of lighting systems but has been using more Godox portable lighting equipment lately. Furthermore, she has layered on her photography and lighting skills throughout the years – making a name for herself! 

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