Photographer and Author: Edward Stokes
Publisher: Oxford University Press (HK), 1995
Format: Hardback, 255mm x 260mm, 212pp.
Follow Edward Stokes on this unforgettable journey across Hong Kong’s natural landscape. Along the way, learn about the evolution of its natural and man-made environment.
By way of photographs and lively, informed narrative, Stokes takes the reader though Hong Kong’s wild places: towering peaks, grassy hills, wooded valleys, and indented rugged coasts. He reveals the surprisingly rich native flora and fauna that survive in these wild domains, despite being very close to an intensely crowded metropolis.
With historical and regional chapters, the book documents the vast changes, since geological times, to Hong Kong’s hills, valleys, and coasts. From their origins millions of years ago, on to the effects of the postwar influx of immigrants and refugees, industrialization during the 1950s, and in recent years spreading development and infrastructure.
As I explored Hong Kong’s wild places, I realized that the view of Hong Kong – as a purely urban phenomenon, a city without natural origins and native ecology – was deeply flawed.
Stokes highlights the natural and man-made challenges to the local environment. He celebrates the great beauty and grandeur of the remaining “wild places”, and highlights the damage done by man. No one before had illustrated so evocatively the beauty – and fragility – of Hong Kong’s landscape; and the need to preserve its wild places. Past and present inform Edward Stokes’ evocative photos and his poetic essays. As he wrote in the book’s Preface: “The spirit of the past seemed often to colour the country. The land, I came to see, told its own story.”
Hong Kong’s Wild Places was sponsored by The Swire Group. Edward Stokes’ Hong Kong’s Wild Places manuscripts are held by The University of Hong Kong Libraries. The HKU Libraries are linked on this site’s With Thanks page.
Edward’s research for Hong Kong’s Wild Places brought together a wide spectrum of advisors, from university ecological departments, green groups, and other conservation bodies. The book launch, seen here, was a memorable gathering of them all.