Hao Ke – Life is always a one-way street

by Liang Shuhan 梁舒涵

At first glance, Haoke’s work is reminiscent of Magnum Photos, but upon closer examination, he is not truly immersed in the world, like Capa, who is “close enough”. Instead, the photographer seems to be wearing a pair of large headphones, looking at the diverse scenes in front of the lens, because he may be more concerned about the script in his own mind. The “life experiences” in “Weeds” seem more like meditations that are triggered by extremely random moments among the seemingly endless lives of people, and that elusive sense of staging can be either a “poke” or a symptom of modernity. Seeking the unchanging and eternal in the hustle, bustle, division, and brevity of urban civilization is the other half of it. Most importantly, this feeling can only be captured through experiences that have been experienced by the body and touched by the vision. If there is a sense of sanctity in it, it should be somewhat similar to the atmosphere that director Gu Changwei is trying to convey in his film “Spring” – the pursuit of emptiness in a secular environment.

Hao Ke 郝科, Weeds series

Distancing rather than participation, observation without touching, mobilization without cooperation, this kind of austerity has the ethereal quality of Yang Dechang’s “A One and A Two”, but more like Akira Kurosawa’s “Dreams”. Because the photographer’s “attitude” is always a little higher than life, which makes reality become the footnote of the lens. Especially in the “Golden Dream” series, the cold colors and dark tones make life appear still and oppressive. Of course, there may be Haoke’s attitude hidden in this, as he uses a gloomy tone to unify those symbols (such as Confucius, astronauts, historical photos) that can arouse passion in mainstream media, turning the “sacred” into the daily, and the “daily” into nothingness.

Hao Ke 郝科, Golden Dream
Hao Ke 郝科, Golden Dream

“Bone Record” is also the same, the powerful and grandiose things eventually become ordinary things that are weathered away. Imagine if someone wanted to make fun of a tourist attraction by mixing a bare stone into the area and arranging some friends to touch it, it would attract countless tourists to follow suit, and if Haoke happened to come across it, he would probably film it with a black humor lens. Perhaps Haoke has found some lightly entertaining things in reality, so light that they can be almost ignored, or simply noticed that the tie worn by a person in formal attire is slightly crooked, just like the moment when a ballet dancer wearing ballet shoes in Degas’s paintings. Yes, this is Baudelaire’s dandy perspective, the lonely soul in the artificial landscape: the gas lamp is lit. The lamp holder passed through the passage filled with buildings and crowds of night tourists, and lit the dim street lamp. Glass-roofed, marble-floored walkways, luxury product displays, casinos, glass showcases… The faces of the crowds appear like ghosts, they are anxious, bewildered, and similar to each other, crowded to the point where there is no gap even in their dreams. Ran Dian 燃点

Hao Ke 郝科, Bone series


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