Wong Wei-him - BURNT

Wong Wei-him

Wong Wei-him (b. 1975) was born in Vancouver, Canada. He received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from McGill University in 1999 and a Master of Architecture from the University of Hong Kong in 2001. In 2010, he established In-between Architects Ltd., a design studio based in Hong Kong. He is an architect and street photographer. 


He writes: “At first, I used my camera to capture peculiar spaces and intricate design detail to use as inspirations for my design projects. Over time, I have developed the habit of bringing my camera with me wherever I go. When I see something that intrigues or touches me, I photograph it.


When I came across the work of Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt and Japanese street photographer Shin Noguchi, I was inspired by the portrayal of culture and humanity in their photography. It was then that I decided to take up street photography, and photography has been one of my passions ever since.”

Wong Wei-him
Project Statement


BURNT is a photo diary recording the recent social unrest of Hong Kong. All photos were taken using only the first frame of the roll (the frame prior to the camera hitting zero on the frame counter), on a 35mm film camera.


Of these ongoing anti-government protests, one incident caught my attention in particular—a photo of a girl who was shot in the eye during a clash between the protestors and the police in the streets. The vivid image of her injury reveals a partial truth—it shows the result, but not the cause. No one can follow or digest the plethora of news that is being circulated. No one can tell if the news is showing the whole truth, or if it is a collage of fictions.


The making of these photos was both mechanical and chemical. When a roll of film is being loaded into the camera, the first few inches of the film are exposed to light, and consequently they cannot capture a distinct image. For this reason, many photographers discard the first photo taken with a roll of film. However, I like the dynamic of having a scar-like line dividing the photo into two parts, making the image partly seen and partly unseen. It presents only a partial picture, echoing the ambiguities in reality.