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Eye-Opening Photos of Hong Kong’s Packed “Vertical Graveyards” on Hillsides

We came across an article on mymodernmet.com about Finbarr Fallon's long term photography project Dead Space, in which he uses his architectural sensibilities to create evocative imagery. In a set of twelve photographs, shot over the course of five years, Fallon immortalizes Hong Kong’s vertical graveyards.

With space at a premium in the densely packed city, these cemeteries built into the surrounding mountains loom ominously over Hong Kong. Many of these terraced burial sites were built in the 1980s as a last-ditch effort to create more space in a city that is running out of places to bury the dead.

In fact, the government highly encourages cremation for these reasons, with 90% of the deceased in Hong Kong taking that path in 2013. Still, as Chinese customs call for loved ones to be buried close to their native land, people are desperate to ensure their family members have a proper resting place.

When Fallon stumbled upon his first monumental cemetery in the Chai Wan neighborhood, he was overwhelmed by its scale. Over the next five years, he explored different graveyards every time he made a trip to Hong Kong. “So much is written about how built-up Hong Kong is and I found it fascinating that extreme density and verticality are a defining characteristic of Hong Kong’s dwellings for both the living and the dead,” Fallon tells My Modern Met.

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