A Watery Vision of Hong Kong

The Photo Blog
Feb. 16 2014 11:03 AM

A Watery Vision of Hong Kong

Spread 05
Left: New Territories, Tsuen Wan, Shing Mun Valley, 2009. Right: Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong Park, 2009.

Andreas Müller-Pohle

With hundreds of miles of coastline as well as numerous harbors, bays, rivers, clear-water reservoirs, and waterfalls, Hong Kong is a city of water. In 2008, photographer Andreas Müller-Pohle embarked on a project to show the city from a perspective that can, in a way, define it. “Most people are impressed by Hong Kong for its rapidly changing skyline and take the water, including the charming ferry-boat cruises between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, as a welcome side aspect. The skyline and high-rise vistas are indeed breathtaking. But what made them possible in the first place was the water,” he said via email.

Müller-Pohle used a digital SLR in a large underwater housing to photograph the city from a “divided view”  at the water’s surface, a technique that he first used to create a “water portrait” of the Danube River. “If you want to portray a river, you cannot avoid getting close to the water—that is to say, to immerse yourself into it, to get in touch with it. So it was quite natural to put the camera into the water. I did so, as a test, with my video camera. One day in Berlin, I put it into an underwater bag and threw it into the Spree so that it would swim on the surface. I was very excited with the results,” he said via email. “I then began to study the technique and took advice from underwater photography experts—and found out that shooting pictures with the split technique is relatively popular among divers.”          

Spread 08
Left: Hong Kong Island, Ap Lei Chau, 2009. Right: Kowloon, from a boat in Victoria Harbour, 2009.

Andreas Müller-Pohle

Spread 04
Left: New Territories, Lantau Island, 2009. Right: New Territories, Lantau Island, 2009.

Andreas Müller-Pohle

Spread 09
Left: New Territories, Ma Wan, 2010. Right: Kowloon, West Kowloon, 2009.

Andreas Müller-Pohle

Spread 06
Left: New Territories, north of Sai Kung, 2010. Right: Hong Kong Island, Stanley, 2009.

Andreas Müller-Pohle

Müller-Pohle created an extensive list of possible locations for his photographs with the help of maps, Google Earth, and imagery he found on the Internet. Over the years, Müller-Pohle witnessed the city’s changing skyline and was also attuned to dangers the city faces due to rising sea levels. “Hong Kong’s history, as an economic success, is, above all, a ‘water history.’ And, for that same reason, it now has to face its future, where the water turns from a friendly element into a threat,” Müller-Pohle said.


Eventually, Müller-Pohle plans to turn his water series into a trilogy by photographing an island from a similar water-based perspective. Müller-Pohle’s Hong Kong photos are available in the book, Andreas Müller-Pohle: Hong Kong Waters.

Spread 02
Left: Hong Kong Island, from a boat near Shau Kei Wan, 2010. Right: Hong Kong Island, from a boat near Causeway Bay, 2010.

Andreas Müller-Pohle

Spread 01
Left: Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2009. Right: Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2009.

Andreas Müller-Pohle

Spread 03
Left: New Territories, Tsing Yi, Rambler Channel, 2009. Right: New Territories, from a boat near Lantau Island, 2009.

Andreas Müller-Pohle

Spread 07
Left: New Territories, Ma Wan, 2010. Right: New Territories, Ma Wan, 2010.

Andreas Müller-Pohle

Spread 11
Left: Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2009. Right: Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2009.

Andreas Müller-Pohle

Spread 10
Left: New Territories, Sunny Bay, Lantau Island, 2009. Right: New Territories, Sunny Bay, Lantau Island, 2009.

Andreas Müller-Pohle



Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM The Global Millionaires Club Is Booming and Losing Its Exclusivity
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 21 2014 12:40 PM Asamkirche: The Rococo Church Where Death Hides in Plain Sight
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller's Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Doctor, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.