When everything clicks...

When everything clicks...

Two photographers take to the skies for a bird's eye view of Hong Kong

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Chau Man-yiu (left)  checks out his photos with aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
Chau Man-yiu (left) checks out his photos with aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
Photos: Nora Tam
French aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand was in town last week for the opening of his photo exhibition, Earth from Above - An Aerial Portrait of Our Planet - Towards a Sustainable Development, at Olympian City.

Besides attending the opening ceremony, he had another important engagement - an outing with brain cancer patient, Vincent Chau Man-yiu.

Vincent is a Secondary Four student from Lai Chack Middle School. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008 and was given leave from school to focus on his treatment. He loves photography. His dad always takes a camera with him, capturing key moments with the family.

Vincent was the lucky teenager selected by Make-A-Wish Hong Kong to spend a day with Yann on a helicopter photography trip. He was also offered an SLR camera kit by the foundation.

Lydia Law, communications manager for Make-A-Wish Hong Kong, says: "Vincent's wish is to get a camera kit and we all think he is the best choice for this trip. We hope that Vincent also takes the chance to learn from the master and tries to take aerial pictures under Yann's instruction."

Typhoon Megi nearly ruined Vincent's dream. The typhoon signal No 3 was hoisted that day, but fortunately, the weather was fine and the flight took off as planned.

Vincent's illness could also have affected his scheduled flight with Yann. "I was supposed to have an injection today originally. Luckily, my doctor gave me approval to go on the flight first and have the treatment tomorrow," Vincent says.

Singer Aaron Kwok Fu-shing and actor Michael Wong Man-tak were also on board when the helicopter took off at Shek Kong. Yann spoke English and the two celebrities acted as translators for Vincent during the ride. The helicopter flew over Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, before returning to Shek Kong.

Vincent couldn't hide his excitement upon completing his maiden helicopter trip. "I saw my home in Yau Ma Tei! It stood out from others nearby because the building is being renovated and it is covered by a green protective cloth," he says. He was amazed to see IFC, the Hong Kong Coliseum, Hong Kong Stadium and the new International Commerce Centre from the air, while his dad was busy taking pictures of him on the ground.

Vincent has always been optimistic about life. "I and my parents didn't feel very bad when we knew I had brain cancer. What we were thinking about was, 'okay, I need to get well soon and go to school again'," he says. "My classmates also come and visit me in hospital. Their support is important to me."

Yann says: "It was a very meaningful trip to fly with Vincent. Hong Kong's scenery is gorgeous. I am surprised that it was quite easy to take photos from up above the city."

Yann says he was amazed by a "boat-like" shopping centre he saw and took some pictures of the building. "I haven't seen a boat on land before. I also like the green areas in Hong Kong. I will probably come back for another photo shoot next year because I am working on my new film now."

If you want to see a selection of Yann's photographs, visit the exhibition at Olympian City. It is open until December 26.

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