Lee Ti-Chin was born in Wanhua, Taipei. After graduating from the Taipei Industrial Institute (now National Taipei University of Technology) in 1944, Lee began working at Tatung Company in 1946. During his term as the leader of the recreation section of the company’s welfare committee, he founded the “Photographic Society of Tatung” per the request of his colleagues in 1960. It was around this time that he purchased a Ricohflex 6x6 TLR camera and embarked on his photographic journey.
After the 1950s, amateur photographers created a flourishing scene of photographic societies in Taiwan. In 1953, the “Photographic Society of China” was re-established in Taiwan. Subsequently, Deng Nan-Guang and others founded the “Society of Freedom Photography Exhibition” and the “Photographic Society of Taipei”, which facilitated the establishment of and exchange between photographic societies throughout Taiwan. During the initial period of the “Photographic Society of Tatung”, Lee invited Lee Tiao-Lun and Deng Nan-Guang, who both pursued the aesthetics of realism in their photographic careers, to be jurors and consultants in the club’s competitions. Consequently, various photographic approaches were introduced into the club, such as realist photography, street photography and snapshot, as well as photo-series combination, all of which influenced and formed the foundation of Lee’s photographic style.
Lee’s photography revolves around quick documentation of everyday life and his surroundings. The heartwarming moments unexpectedly encountered and gleaned by the photographer in life have become realistic records that document the changes of people’s lifestyle and the urban scene as time passes. In the book, In Search of Photos Past, Chang Chao-Tang thus comments on Lee’s work, “his spontaneous and non-intrusive angles express an interest in and concern with people around him, demonstrating an ordinary sense of sincerity and preciousness in a calm, inconspicuous mood.”
Spontaneous snapshots of street and quotidian scenes or photographic narratives composed with a single photo or a combination of numerous photos convey the warm ambience of everyday life. As the cityscape evolved, Lee’s photographic subject also shifted towards portraying modern and urban forms. From realism to depicting mental images, the various creative vocabularies point to the photographer’s endeavor in keeping up with the advent of modernity, and at the same time, express the realistic documentation of fleeting moments as well as the plastic form created by the interplay of ethereal light and shadow, composing the photographer’s inner landscape.
Chiu De-Yun born in a generationally agricultural family in a Miaoli Hakka settlement, displayed a talent for sports from a young age. After graduating from Chien Tai High School in Miaoli, he was recruited into the Chinese Petroleum Corporation (CPC) baseball team and worked at the Taiwan Oil Exploration Bureau, a CPC subsidiary located in Miaoli. During his high school years, he stumbled upon a camera brought back by a classmate from Shanghai, sparking his interest in photography. Encouraged by the senior photographer in Miaoli, Chen Yen-Chuan, he joined the CPC Corporation’s Photography Club in 1958, marking the beginning of his journey into photographic creation. Chiu personally described the photography scene at the time as a constant debate between pictorialism and realism. However, given his grassroots background as a farmer, he wholeheartedly embraced realism in photography, taking his free time after work to immerse himself in the fields and countryside of Miaoli, and using realistic imagery to document rural life and folk traditions.
In 1975, Chiu De-Yun, along with Chen Li-Wen, Chen Yen-Chuan, Hsieh Chyi-Jeong, Lo Han-Chang, Chen Yun-Jing (David Chen), and others, co-founded the Photographic Society of Miaoli, paving the way for local photography clubs in Miaoli. Chiu served as the president of the association during its 4th and 5th terms from 1981 to 1985. However, his involvement in administrative duties led him to feel that photography had been polluted with opportunism, and he even stopped taking photos for a period. It wasn't until 1991, when senior members of the association advocated for the formation of the "Hard-Neck Photography Group," emphasizing a return to the essence of photography with a focus on black and white images and rural themes, with an eye towards long-term cultivation of an affective investment in the local, that he rediscovered his passion for photography and embarked on thematic series of works.
From his early documentation of his hometown in the series Hometown under the Jiali Mountain, to Sweating and Shuifuteu (The Shorts Series) which were closely intertwined with laborers, and later in the 1990s, through his lens, showcasing the temporal changes and decline of rural areas in series like Revisiting the Rural Villages and Wind Blows and Sun Shines, these series of realistic photographs span Chiu’s creative journey. Through the intense emotions conveyed in his black and white images, he communicated the profound and powerful sentiments of a dedicated photographer.