The photos and stories are presented in four groups. The first group ask the questions Who?, What?, When? & Where?, and then shows the photo's hidden clues to provide the answers. This includes some fascinating views of major events in Hong Kong, but also rare scenes people are unlikely to have seen before. Next, he peeps into a family's album from the 1900s, followed by a look at Hong Kong's fashions over the years. Each photo's details leads on to a series of stories about old Hong Kong and the people who lived here.
David finishes with one of Hong Kong's most frequently photographed scenes, the view from Victoria Peak. Though it seems familiar, he uses historic photos to see it in a very different light. He heads back to the 1880s to begin, then uses a sequence of photos to show the dramatic changes Hong Kong has been through.
All the photos have been scanned at high-resolution and digitally restored. David uses the high-resolution images during the presentation, so instead of showing a static PowerPoint, he can zoom in to show us the photos' hidden details, and reveal their secrets.
David Bellis runs the popular local history website, Gwulo.com. It hosts over 34,000 pages about old Hong Kong, including over 20,000 photos. He also gives regular talks, using his photo collection to introduce Hong Kong's history.
Originally from the United Kingdom, David first visited Hong Kong in 1989, and has lived here since 1992. He has a BSc in Computer Science and Cybernetics from Reading University, and initially worked in the software industry. He now spends his time on history projects, though his software background helps when developing the Gwulo website.
In 2014, David won the SCMP's Heritage Preservation Award, one of its "The Spirit of Hong Kong Awards", for his work on Gwulo.com. More recently he has published two collections of photos and stories about old Hong Kong, based on his talks.
Members of the RGS, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$150 for RGS Members and HK$200 for guests and others, including a complimentary glasses of white or red wine. This event is free of charge for Student Members.
The Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong wishes to express its thanks to Tai Kwun for its generous support with this talk.