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Photo Phnom Penh Festival 2023 : Chang Chao-Tang


Chang Chao-Tang

A Trip of Nostalgia

“Perhaps because I grew up in a small town, I have a great fondness for taking photos in the countryside or out on the fields in nature. Capturing the world of children seems to be a way to look back on and reminisce what’s remembered and what’s forgotten. Old faces encountered on the streets, silhouettes, postures, waiting and gazing afar at the sea… are they predictions, different imaginative possibilities of what might be in the future for me? All of the people and sceneries appear quiet and alone here, but they also embody a certain kind of warmth. Perhaps it is this warmth of nostalgia that has kept me walking on the path of photography.”

“Wherever you go, you’re at the scene.” As a high school student, Chang Chao-Tang picked up his camera and began to shoot, and he has not stopped since. His images reveal transcendence amidst the commonplace, intimacy amidst alienation, humor amidst the absurd. They reflect the photographer’s acute observations and earnest understanding, his substantial concern and empathy. He once said: “Photographers seek less for a vista as for an atmosphere, a state of existence. They could be monumental silence and emptiness, or subtle fantasy and expectation, or perhaps an alternative ineluctable form of energy and excitement.”

His career spanning more than 50 years has encompassed photography, television programs, documentary films and dramas. His works not only feel the pulse of his age but are also far-reaching witnesses to history. He is the recipient of several major awards, including the Golden Bell (1976), the National Award for Arts (1999) and the National Cultural Award (2011). He has curated exhibitions and taught courses on photography and film. He has organized, edited and written books on Taiwanese photographers and photography. With unflagging dedication, he has worked to pass on, build up and promote the legacy of both still photography and motion pictures, guiding the less experienced, making considerable contributions and casting a long shadow in his field.

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