Mon, Jan 25, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Heritage site closed over photo session

TAINAN TEMPEST:A Japanese colonial-era building has been closed to the public until a new contractor can be found to manage it after the previous group pulled out

By Wang Chieh and Jonathan Chin

The Agricultural Research Facility Apartments, a Japanese colonial-era wooden building in Tainan’s East District, is pictured on Saturday.

Photo: Wang Chieh, Taipei Times

Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Agricultural Research Facility Apartments (丁種官社) in Tainan yesterday was closed indefinitely by its management agency after it unwittingly allowed an Internet-based photography club to conduct a semi-nude shoot at the cultural heritage site last week.

The Tainan City Government received complaints after images of a model wearing a bra and a thong — taken on Sunday last week — were uploaded to the BQ Photographer’s Connection (BQ攝影交流) Facebook page by the photographer who scheduled the shoot.

The Agricultural Research Facility Apartments comprise of two wooden buildings built during the Japanese colonial era to house the staff of the research facility, which studied seed development.

The Tainan Cultural Affairs Bureau said the site was operated under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement by the Tayovuan Association, a charity that promotes reading and education for underprivileged children.

The association reportedly pulled out of the contract after the photographs were published.

Tayovuan Association president Huang Cheng-kung (黃振恭) said his group used one of the buildings as a reading room and used the other as an office, occasionally renting it to outside groups as an event venue.

Huang said his group was not aware of the nature of the BQ Photographer’s Connection photo shoot.

He said the photographers first applied to use the office building early last year, but were rejected because his group was still finalizing details of the BOT agreement with the city.

However, the photographers said they had not had any trouble using Tainan’s other cultural heritage sites and so the association expedited its contract process to accommodate them, Huang said.

Since middle of last year, his group allowed the photographers to use the venue on three occasions at a rate of NT$1,000 per session, Huang said, adding he was present during the first two sessions and saw nothing untoward.

“They might have figured out that we had no surveillance cameras in the building, and decided to do the semi-nude shoot on Jan. 17, which was an insult to the heritage site and our association,” he said.

Unnamed sources said that the BQ Photographer’s Connection billed the third shot as the “Sanctuary of the Naked Nymph,” and had said that a model would be available for semi-nude photography, and charged six photographers NT$1,900 each to join the shoot.

The online images from the session quickly drew complaints from netizens, who said the site had been used to photograph “obscene images.”

On Monday last week, the bureau reviewed the images and ruled that the photography group violated Article 5-2 of the site’s terms of use, which forbids actions “offensive to morality” in its premises.

The photographs were removed from Facebook by BQ Photographers’ Connection.

The association said that as a non-profit group, it could not afford to pay more than one staffer to supervise the venue’s use by outside groups, and the incident had forced it to terminate its contract with the bureau.

The bureau said the Agricultural Research Facility Apartments would remain closed until another contractor is found.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top