Sun, Dec 21, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Amateur photo contest exposes Taiwan

STAFF WRITER

Wang Ya-lei and Hong yi-chi's photo was a runner-up in Taipei.

PHOTO COURTESY OF FNAC

"From the red lights and alcohol-fueled Linshen North Road in the small hours, to the morning joggers in the Da'an Park, we saw with our camera the many different faces of Taipei in 24 hours," said Lee Cheng-chang (李成章), who won the top prize in the Taipei part of FNAC 24hr Digital Photo Marathon competition with his partner Chou Cheng-yi (周政毅).

For the 24 photos they took in 24 hours on Nov. 8, they took home Sony's latest digital camera and vouchers worth NT$20,000. Their works are current on show with those of five other winning teams at the main FNAC in Taipei.

One of the most popular amateur photography events in Taipei, the competition, organized by FNAC and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Cultural Foundation, was held on a larger scale in its second year, and the winners show remarkable improvement.

Last year's competition was so popular that the organizers admitted 91 teams in Taipei and more in Taichung and Tainan. To adjust to the increasing number of digital camera-users, the organizers have also shifted the format from traditional prints to digital photos.

At Taipei Artist Village, participants, mostly young students, took photos on the theme "Turn Left, Turn Right." At the Red Playhouse in Ximenting, they tried to capture the "old dreams" of the historical building. At the 228 Memorial Hall, they explored the meanings of "encounters in the dark."

The resulting works amazed Chuan Huei-hua (全會華) -- a veteran photographer and one of the judges -- who said their creativity "breaks free from conventional compositions."

Lee and Chou, who admitted that they had perused the themes thoroughly well before the day of competition, present the most lingering images with thought-provoking subtlety.

For "Turn Left, Turn Right," the theme with the greatest risk of either stating the obvious or totally missing the point, they shot a young woman and a little girl arranging their respective piles of papers on facing cabinets while many participants shot pedestrians literally walking in different directions on the street, probably influenced by the bestselling book and movie of the same title.

Their four images on "The Old Dreams of the Red Playhouse" are beautiful studies of light and shade. A close-up of a disused old-style film projector with a flyer of the trendy Room 18 club stuck on it is nostalgic and humorous, capturing in a glance the many contradictions and transformations that make this city an interesting place.

The latest trends in amateur photography and teenage culture are evident in the works of other winners in all three cities.

Lin Pei-rou (林佩柔) and Chi Sheng-you (紀昇佑), the runners-up in the Taichung category, took some mysterious black-and-white pictures of a man dropping dead in a toilet and on a clothes hanger in the spirit of kuso photography, the Japan-imported movement of setting up bizarre yet funny scenes for photos, widely popular on the Internet.

A stuffed monkey doll travels from a market to a river bank in the works of Lo Chian-su (羅健毓) and Yang Shao-kai (楊紹凱), who were second place in Tainan. They were just one of the many teams that chose to see their cities through the eyes of stuffed toys.

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