Moving our studio and gallery to Dihua Street at the beginning of this year just as the pandemic broke out was a sudden shock to our new
journey, what we thought was going to be a move to a bustling tourist hub was soon to be a silent street. Uncertainty grew in the
neighbourhood and we quickly created new bonds with our welcoming neighbours and connected over the struggle of relying on a location
fuelled by the tourism industry. As reported cases around the world began to increase along with boarders closing we realised this was
a moment in history that we needed to document.
This project is a celebration of Taiwan’s success of handling the pandemic and an insight into a selection of untold stories of the hardship and domestic burden some people and businesses have still faced on the island.
Wanting to allow the subject to tell their perspective and be in control of their own story, we decided to give each sitter the power over their image by letting them too take a self-portrait. By doing this we gave them time to express their emotions and thoughts on how the pandemic has affected them in Taiwan by
influencing them and their portrait as little as possible.
Separately we both posed for a self-portrait, reflecting on our experience so far during the pandemic.
Minsik represented himself in a complete black and with no contactable skin out but a mask as a symbol of invisible fear. When we talk about a virus, we don’t see it but it makes us see the fear through it. Like a hesitation when pressing the elevator button, he thought he would not beable to not see the fear even after we are back to normal life.
Naomi portraying her vulnerability and her retreat to social distancing up a ladder, alone, but free from social constructs of wearing clothes.
We then have been inviting others to our studio to be part of the project and share their experience of what it has been like for them living through a global emergency in Taiwan.
For many participants, it was the first time to take control of the photographic process by pressing the shutter themselves but we believe this method captures the truth of how people feel. It captures their reflection in the most personal way of how the pandemic has affected them, their life, and their loved ones.
The only instruction we give each subject is to wear a mask for their photograph to illustrate that masks are such a poignant part of Taiwan's response to the pandemic.
Recognising the weight upon participants when stepping in front of the lens, we hope that it can be of benefit to everyone that joins the project, giving each a space and moment to reflect as they write down their musings to share their story from Taiwan.
To date we have collected over one hundred different people's self-portraits and writings, it has been a remarkable process gathering different stories and being able to share intimate and open conversations with others about their thoughts and feelings of what will be a historical year. Also we have collected over 100 different peoples stories and accounts of how the virus has affected them in Taiwan. Our project has been featured on various media platforms such as France 24, SCMP, Yahoo Sports, Taipei Times, Taiwan News, Deccan Herald, ETtoday, etc.
To see the full project please see here