c’est une maison bleue

Capture d’écran 2016-04-25 à 22.55.38It was one of these little streets that I knew it would take me somewhere.
Was it its upslope full of promises of an adventurous journey to a hidden temple gem? Was it the unmissable alignment of  low and raw colored buildings at its entry? Was it the imposing Blue House and its balconies knitted in lace? Or was I just like anybody would be when passing by Stone Nullah Lane? Attracted, seduced, curious, and looking for the charm of « the real Hong Kong »? You can not not climb Stone Nullah Lane when you see it. And you can not miss the Blue House.

That day, the vintage shop at its ground floor was open, it was called the  House of Stories. It was an atypical place, not really a shop, not really a gallery, this kind of place you do not immediately get the point of, but you love right away. Second-hand objects aligned on shelves but not for sale, vintage typewriters waiting for writers, old chinese flasks and their blazing peonies, … people passing by, tourists, friends, neighbors, people who seemed to be actually involved or have some connections with the shop, meeting together there, for a chat or to play guitar.
A open house. Une maison bleue, adossée à la colline*.

On the back wall, a square and big frame was hung askew, above a poorly lit cashier desk. Despite the bad hanging and poor lighting, I was struck by what was inside the frame which turned to be a box, more than a simple flat frame. I had to tilt my head backwards when I got closer to it. And then I realized that the image inside the box, properly framed behind a glass, was not a simple photography print, but a 3D photo paper object, featuring the Blue House. It was gorgeous, and I immediately fell in love with it.

I expressed my admiration at the woman who was sitting behind the desk, and asked her what it was and who made it. She turned around and looked at the frame and I had the feeling she was seeing it for the first time. She told me she did not know anything about this. Forgetting for a moment that nothing was for sale here I asked her how much was the cost. But she nervously smiled and giggled, saying it was not for sale, this for sure she knew. This has always been here. This was like the walls and the stairs, this will never go.

So I asked her if I could make some photos of it. And she said yes of course, and you can also take some photos of the huge lion mask hanging over there, she told me pointing at the New Year animal on another wall. It was clear she did not get my point.

But that was ok. Because that day, I did not know it but I was in front my first fotomo. I went away with the few clues I had in hand, determined to investigate this 3D Blue House thing.


*in french, A blue house, backing on to the hill. (quote from song « San Francisco », Maxime Le Forestier)

Copyright Alexis Ip/photo C.Levert