Publisher: Sunnygate Corp.
(Omitted) Building Shared Memory, Salvaging Old Photographs "In Sight – Tracing the Photography Studio Images of the Japanese Period in Taiwan" is more than an exhibition of imagery but the opening of dialogue – offering a place for public discussion of nearly 140 years of photography culture in Taiwan. Since the introduction of the invention of photography, 170 years have come and gone. Predominant Western photography carried with it the embedded symbols of the era. For weaker countries, especially ones like Taiwan subject to colonial rule under the Chrysanthemum Throne fated to exposure to second-hand culture, and in view of the impact of political and environmental factors on the nature of photography culture, it is difficult to identify a unifying thread. This is both fate and the tenor of the times.
In today’s world of advanced information and ready access, it is no longer expedient to place the label of dominant Western influence on photography. Photography has now become an emotional medium common to all of the world’s people, as well as the commonly held property of all participants in arts and culture. As the development of photography in Taiwan nears the century mark, we must recognize with urgency the need to salvage the body of nostalgic old local photographs before they disappear. These images are the most elemental assets of local culture as well as shared collective memories. Without shared memories different individuals and groups are unable to achieve mutual affinity, leading to the progressive decline and erosion of culture. This is a truly frightening invisible destructive force. As we also prepare to celebrate the centenary of the Republic of China, let us establish the parameters of photographic cultural history in Taiwan. And let us hope that these parameters can shine light and facilitate dialogue for future generations amidst the maelstrom of the global age.