Norman de Brackinghe has lived in Hong Kong since 1976 originally exhibiting watercolour landscapes. However, through photography he found he could explore the world of abstraction, which was also close to his heart. For many years previously he was the director of an international publishing company in Hong Kong and had been involved in Design and the Graphic Arts the whole of his life.

The question he is most often asked, and the one that he dreads, is what camera does he use? As if that makes any difference to what he sees. So what a relief, while talking to a group of children at a gallery when a seven year old asked him, “Do you take photographs for yourself or other people?” His answer was that of course he takes images for himself but he does want other people to see what he sees. He is fascinated with the nature of abstract art and its emotional impact. Images incorporating these themes can be found in the most unusual or out of the way places, often honed into being by the sun and rain.

Norman’s photography is like the jazz music he loves so much. Both incorporate the sense of improvisation and surprise. All his images are discoveries and are presented uncropped and without computer manipulation. Interestingly, though, his inspiration comes more from the work of abstract expressionist painters than photographers. Asked once about the spirit of his photographic work, he said Billie Holiday sang it, Miles Davis played it, Nicholas de Stael painted it and James Joyce wrote it.

From accident, obliteration, scrawl and neglect has come an art which captures Hong Kong’s energetic, distinctive personality.’

Henry Steiner, 2006

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Norman de Brackinghe