Alumni Events Around the World
Looking Back - Taiwanese Photographers' Island Gazes 1970s-1990s
The three decades from 1970s to 1990s may be brief in the grand scheme of history, but seeing from a global context for Taiwan, this span of time was a critical and important transitional period for Taiwan’s internal and international affairs, cross-strait development with China, and also socio-economical shifts and changes.
Under the intense social tension before and post martial law, Taiwanese photographers, from the main island of Taiwan and its outlying islands, up in the mountains or by the coastal shore, compared with those in other creative practices such as literature or painting, sought to use photography to portray and even interpret the different emotions and ups and downs unfolding in that era, as they engaged in society and interacted closely with various communities including Hokkien, Hakka, mainlanders, and indigenous groups, responding to external challenges in reality and extended inwards to examine life.
After decades of distillation and accretion, these photographic works have, in the interim, augmented the important ethos and practical foundation of photography internally in Taiwan, through the expansion of its format and phraseology. The transfixed and distinct ethic features in these artworks and also the continually overlapping and subtle contours of the islands not only serve as clues and memories for us to look back upon and use as references for constructing history; the viewpoints of the photographers have also become dignified reflective and direct “gazes” for the islands today and for this era of uproar.
Grantee: Chao-Liang Shen