Apr 13, 2006|
HK Magazine: We saw a lot of images of the WTO in the media last year – why have this exhibition now?
Lai Chung Tao: Our main reason is to let amateurs share their experiences on the WTO and contrast that with how the mainstream media reported it.
HK: Your photos aren’t the sensationalist or violent images we usually see. How did you feel about the mainstream media’s coverage?
LCT: In such events, especially in Hong Kong, it’s not always ideal to rely on the mainstream media. They base their level of reporting on market demand and sensationalist front pages. It’s not always an objective view. But I suppose the consumers are to blame as well – we Hong Kongers much prefer action images over artistic ones.
HK: Is this the first kind of mass demonstration you’ve documented?
LCT: I started out during the ’64 and ’71 demonstrations. I always encourage youngsters to go to such events, not only for photography, but because it’s a good way to broaden one’s horizons. It was especially so during the WTO because we got to meet so many activists from Southeast Asia.
HK: Did you get your share of tear gas and pepper spray last December?
LCT: I got a good dose of tear gas. The last time I got hit was in ’67, and at that time I had no idea what tear gas was. But it was a good experience in a way – when you do this sort of work, you have to get used to such things and be aware of how it affects you.
HK: What was the most memorable thing you filmed?
LCT: There was this single Korean protester who picked up some plywood and started smacking the railings. As I looked closer, I realized he was pushing out the nail so it wouldn’t injure anyone or be classified as a dangerous weapon. The media dubbed them as violent anarchists but in reality they were considerate. For me, this was a meaningful moment. Have photos or video from the WTO? Bring them along to “Convention Hall.”