Born in Luoyang County, Henan Province, Mainland China in 1923 (household registration was made in 1929), Chang Lung-ko experienced the great drought in northern China and the cruelty of the Sino-Japanese War in his early life. Enlisted in the army in 1941, he was then sent to an U.S. Air Force technical school located in Mississippi to undergo military training in 1946. He fell ill during the training and stayed in the U.S. to recover from the illness. This was when his interest in photography began to develop. In the same year, Chang Lung-ko completed the training and went back to China at the peak of the Chinese Civil War. After a long journey with the withdrawal of the Nationalist troops, he was eventually transferred to Taiwan in 1949. Constantly drifting from one place to another, he recorded moments of his wandering life through photographs.
As an enthusiast photographer, Chang Lung-ko took photos of daily life and important events such as the National Day celebrations during the first few decades after he moved to Taiwan. Most of these images, however, have been lost over time. It was not until the year 1992, when he retired and moved to Australia, that he finally delved into photography. During the 15 years living in Australia, he took road trips around the country and captured photos of its natural landscapes. In the meantime, as the founder of the Ao-Lung Photography Association (澳龍攝影學會, ADPA), he was also an active member of the local photography communities as well as the overseas Chinese community in Australia. Featuring Chang Lung-ko’s photo albums and letters documenting his wandering years, this exhibition area recounts the story of a great era. With the eyes of an enthusiast photographer, Chang Lung-ko captured a wide range of images, demonstrated his ability to select the perfect shutter speed, and loyally conveyed the momentum, movements, and stillness in those images to the audience.
Yang Chih-hsin was born in Taichung’s Qingshui Township in 1923. The family moved to Japan in 1928 for his father Yang Tien-fu’s studies at Waseda University. After completing primary and secondary education in Japan, Yang Chih-hsin began his studies at Tokyo’s Sophia University. He went back to Taiwan in 1946, a year after the end of World War II. In 1951, Yang Chih-hsin started to work as an editor and photographer for the semimonthly magazine Harvest published by the Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction (JCRR). In 1962, he switched his career path and founded an advertising agency. It was not until Yang’s first photography solo exhibition “Time Capsule: Photographs by C.H. Yang” held in 1999 after his retirement that his photographic works were rediscovered by the public.
The ten-year stint of photographing and interviewing people for the Harvest magazine was the most prolific period of Yang Chih-hsin’s life as an artist. While publicizing the government’s agricultural policy as a photojournalist, he also continued to observe the cultures and customs of places he visited and capture them with his camera. Furthermore, he handled his works with extreme care, accumulating a rich series of image documents that help depict the contour of the era. Under the international situation at that time, Yang Chih-hsin was in a privileged workplace with plenty of resources from the U.S. Aid and a favorable photographic condition. His experience in Japan during his early years endowed him with unique perspectives, with which he recorded the local customs and sceneries of Taiwan. Centering on selected works of Yang Chih-hsin in the 1950s and supplemented by valuable documents during his employment with the JCRR, this exhibition area displays images in the Time Capsule recapitulated by the photographer.
Born in 1923 in Shunde City, Guangdong Province, China, Chow Chee-kong began to learn photography when he was 12 years old. Joining the Directorate General of Telecommunications during World Wat II, he first worked in Guanxi Province but was later transferred to Taiwan in December 1946. In 1951, he joined the Chinese Writer's & Artist's Association, and two years later in 1953, he started working with Lang Ching-shan to restore the Photographic Society of China in Taiwan. For decades, he had devoted himself to the Society and helped promote its development. Supporting the founding of the Federation of Asian Photographic Art (FAPA) in 1964, Chow Chee-kong further contributed to connecting Taiwanese photography communities to other major photography associations in Asia. His long-term participation in the operation of the FAPA gave impetus to the trend of amateur photography in Taiwan.
Chow Chee-kong took “poetic photography” as the guiding principle of his works, highlighting that “the full integration of poetry, calligraphy and painting is the highest pursuit of artists of our country. Likewise, the ultimate goal of photographic works is also to incorporate the spirit of poetry and calligraphy.” With a camera in his hands, Chow Chee-kong framed his photographs with natural landscapes, creating poetic and pictorial works that unfold the artistic style of Chinese traditional culture before the eyes of the audience. In his works, “natural landscapes” are employed to realize the majestic momentum and the ever-changing scenery of Nature. Adopting a “spiritual, poetic and calligraphy-like” style, he unearthed the implied profoundness that lies in the scenes and expressed his own artistic ingenuity. This exhibition area shows how the Nationalist Government of the Republic of China worked with non-governmental organizations to promote Chinese culture through documents related to the Chinese Writer's & Artist's Association and the Photographic Society of China. It also features Chow’s “poetic photography,” the concept which he proactively supported after the 1990s. Integrating poetry and calligraphy in his works, Chow Chee-kong embodies the infinite feelings and emotions within the limit of enframed scenery.
National Taiwan Museum of Fine ArtsNational Center of Photography and Images
The year 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of three Taiwanese photographers: Chang Lung-ko (1923-), Yang Chih-hsin (1923-2005), and Chow Chee-kong (1923-2016). Focusing on the three photographers, the storyline of the “Photo-Coagulation: 2023 Centennial Exhibition of Taiwanese Photographers” begins from the 1940s and the 1950s. Examining the era they lived in, relevant literature and documents, and photographic works carefully selected by our curators, this exhibition reveals the keenness in the three photographers’ camera angles and their artistic expressions.
Constantly moving in the 1940s, Chang Lung-ko was first shifted to Shanghai, then to Shenyang, Guangzhou, Hainan and other areas with the relocation of the army. He recorded the whole process of his migration through photography, until he finally settled down in Taiwan in 1949. This exhibition visualizes Chang’s life path through his early photo albums, letters, and other documents, demonstrating how photos have been transformed from records of instant moments into the testimony of the past as time went by. After his retirement in the 1990s, he moved to Australia and stayed there for 15 years, during which he delved further into photography. Through the scenery, natural ecosystems and portrait photographs Chang captured in this period, this exhibition highlights the photographer’s accurate shutter speed and his exclusive photographic expressions such as “Waves of Momentum” and “Sensations in Movement and Stillness.”
Yang Chih-hsin completed his education in Japan before the outbreak of World War II and came back to Taiwan in 1946. In 1951, he joined the Harvest magazine published by the Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction (JCRR) and worked as a photographer for 10 years. This gave him a chance to travel through rural places across Taiwan and thoroughly explore the countryside. He not only shot numerous pictures for agricultural policy promotion, but also leveraged his unique perspectives outside of work to capture photos of everyday life in cities and countryside, revealing the reality of Taiwan under the influence of geopolitical situations, the Cold War and the U.S. Aid in the 1950s, before the agrarian to industrial transition took place.
In 1946, Chow Chee-kong was accredited to Taiwan with the Directorate General of Telecommunications. In the 1950s, he joined the Chinese Writer's & Artist's Association to promote photography and began his collaboration with Lang Ching-shan to restore the Photographic Society of China in Taiwan. An advocator of "poetic photography," Chow-Chee-kong transmuted the feelings and emotions hinted in the scenes he captured into poetic lines and inscribed them on his photographic works, which celebrate the artistic style of Chinese culture through “poetic feelings” and “pictorial emotions.” Using a variety of themes, including “Poetic Landscapes,” “Ink Mountains,” and “Odes to the Four Seasons,” this exhibition presents how Chow Chee-kong, complementing pictorial photographs with calligraphy poems, vented his feelings and opinions in an implicit but affectionate way.
Photography is the epitome of time mediated by a flat surface, while the unique points of view of photographers bring timeless and thought-provoking meanings into photographic works. Featuring the different life stories and artistic conceptions of the three photographers, this exhibition develops various image perspectives and themes. Retracing the path of creation of those photographers, the audience can not only feel their passionate and generative artistic energy, but also revisit the diverse and rich historical trajectory in the flow of time, perceptualized by photography art and interwoven with different eras, cultures, society, and humanity.