Inspired by Stacy Oborn, whose blog The Space in Between shines with her enthusiasm for Japanese photography, I realized that I should work to learn more about Asian photography and photographers. My wife will probably be surprised soon to find copies of Black Sun and Modern Photography in Japan 1915-1940 in our mail box. But apart from those books, what better place to start than my ancestral homeland of Taiwan?
Taiwan-born photographer Chang Chien-Chi (張乾琦) has made a name for himself stateside at legendary agency Magnum, whose founders included my favorite photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Chang’s book I Do, I Do, I Do takes an inside look at Taiwan’s glamour wedding photography industry. The photos are superb, but they also hit tickle me personally, since my wife and I went back to Taiwan to have such photos made when we were married. (Although we had Western-style photos made too.)
Chang won Magazine Photographer of the Year honors from the National Press Photographer’s Association, a W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Award and World Press Photo Foundation Award in part for a series he did on a mental institution in Taiwan. I find the photos disturbing in the tradition of the best documentary photography. He also has a nice photo essay online with Time Magazine – Asia in which he documented his return to his hometown of Wuri in Central Taiwan.
A February 2004 Taipei Times article mentions Taiwanese photographers Chang Tsai (張才), Deng Nan-guang (鄧南光) and Lee Ming-diao (李鳴鵰), who collectively are known as the "three swordsmen." (I first came across Stacy’s blog through another photography-related blog called Coincidences, which discusses Japanese photographers Hiroshi Sugimoto and Miwa Yanagi in Two Fresh Takes From Women.)
(1/18/05) Aperture Foundation description of Chang Chien-Chien’s book Double Happiness.