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[Photos] Taiwan's Diverse Society Embodied in Surrealist Street Photography

Chang Chao-Tang has been regarded as one of Taiwan's most influential photographers known for his mastery of surrealism. Chang's primarily black-and-white images reveal the absurdity of everyday life and reflect the 75-year-old photographer's sharp observations, deep understanding and empathy for the world.

In 1958, Chang's brother lent him a camera as an excuse to escape the stresses of high school life. And for five decades, Chang's compelling mix of western existentialism and Chinese ideology has translated into his work, which helped shape the culture of photography in Taiwan.

“I try to capture the moment when the real and the unreal meet — a kind of uneasy encounter of alienation and uncertainty, to solve external boredom and internal emptiness,” Chang told My Modern Met when asked about the reasons why he photographs.

"My imagery serves as a confession of the anger and loss felt by the youths within a conservative and bored political reality," he told Invisible Photographer Asia at his first solo exhibition at the Taiwan Fine Arts Museum in 2013. The black-and-white images evoke a sense of alienation and hollowness amid intimacy and the absurd which is the trademark of Chang's photographic style.

Some dismissed Chang's works for being excessively rational and lacking a sense of humor. He disagreed, believing that his photos would look very different if that was true. "Many have spoken about my sense of humor reflected through the dark humor in my photographs. Being rational is probably a combination of my creative attitude and appearance to the world at large," he commented.

See some of Chang Chao-Tang's most iconic works below:

[Photos via My Modern Met]


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