BackThe Shimmer of Tranquillity

Theme Description

Photography emerged during the Japanese Colonial Period, which means its characters and techniques are inevitably embedded with politics and ideology. With the mentality of pilgrimage, Taiwanese youths of relatively affluent backgrounds would leave for Japan to pursue apprenticeships and to learn modern photography. As Taiwan society stabilized in the second half of the colonial period, the Taiwanese could better afford normal life, and the 1920s onwards was when local commercial portrait studios started to boom. Photography was popularized as a trend and a medium for the Taiwanese or Taiwan-based Japanese residents to document or commemorate events of individuals, family members, everyday life, and all sorts of activities. Each family established its own chronicle of portraits as a witness to family bond, and photography also became a ritual as part of family life that is cherished and preserved. This subtheme focuses on studio portraits of families or individuals that were taken during the rudimentary stage of Taiwan’s photography, alongside a few instances of outdoor photography. These shimmering and tranquil images and the yellowed historical memory present the very essence of the land of Taiwan and its life course. The works in the section not only travel through time and space but also illuminate traces left behind by our past as they naturally and gracefully nurture our present.