Terence Chan Photography

Human Traces

I have long been an admirer of Eugène Atget who has been an influence in much of my own photography, particularly my urban landscapes. Like his images of Paris, many of my images of cities tend to be devoid of human presence. While it is true that Atget often deliberately chose to photograph places that were little frequented by people to give prominence to the surrounding architecture and general atmosphere, there is another rather more prosaic reason for the lack of people in his images, which is that he used a very long exposure so that any passersby who happened to pass through when he took the picture simply would not have stayed in front of the camera for long enough to show up on his images. For this series of images, I too have chosen a long exposure time, but not so long that anyone passing by won't show up at all; instead they show up as a rather ethereal ghostly trace. Think of these images as a comment on the transient and sometimes precarious nature of human presence in this world, or simply enjoy the effect.

Human Trace I (Hong Kong 2000)
Human Trace II (Tunis 2007)
Human Trace III (Edinburgh 2007)
Human Trace IV (Edinburgh 2008)