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For over four years, photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze has been training his lens on the rooftops of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers, in particular those aging buildings located in the very center of the city. These are the only buildings, unlike modern skyscrapers, where the rooftop is left unlocked and accessible by all inhabitants. Given the scarcity of space in a city of 7 million, these communal rooftops are like courtyards, but in the air.

“Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than any other city on earth: 7,044 buildings with more than 12 storeys,” writes Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze in his new book Concrete Stories. “That means, with few exceptions, if you’re standing on a roof, someone is peering down at you. But the rooftop promises a cloak of invisibility and we are eager to accept the lie. As a result, you see the most extraordinary things on Hong Kong’s rooftops. Or more precisely, you see things that are banal and domestic, but extraordinary in the way they are liberated from the self-consciousness that everyone feels in public.”

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