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Dodging rats in the dark for photographic magic


The kitchen at our flat in Macdonnell Road in Hong Kong backed on to a dank, rat-infested space, a convenient landing spot for rubbish hurled from the windows above. 

Mr Chan, the building manager, was a regular visitor and would organise workers to come and clean up the waste, set traps and write letters to the residents reminding them to use the bins.

On one of his visits, he called it a courtyard, which made it sound like something you could visit or stroll through, but we only ever called it ‘Out the Back’. I only ever went through it at a run and would have avoided the place altogether except for one very tantalising attraction. That’s where my father Jack Spackman had set up his darkroom. Continue reading

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One more thing

  • Your Girl Reporter blogs fortnightly on the past, present and future of journalism – from growing up in Hong Kong, to working in the UK and now observing the state of the world from my native Australia. Don’t know where to begin? Let me recommend some stories my father told me here.

Once I was a girl reporter. Now I’m an interested observer

Covering the past, present and future of journalism. The views expressed here are entirely my own, as is the content except where expressly credited or linked to the original site.

Sally Baxter was a girl reporter who appeared in a series of books published in the 1960s. She inspired me to become a journalist, if that's any recommendation.

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From the vault