Tua-Tiu-Tiann Photography Exhibition (大稻埕攝影展)

The Tua-Tiu-Tian Internationl Festival of Arts (大稻埕國際藝術節) officially opened on Sunday, October 1st with an action-packed month of events which aims to not only showcase and promote the historic Dadaocheng area of Taipei, but also display many of the artistic talents that both Taipei and Taiwan have to offer to the world.  

The month of events kicked off with the opening of the Dadaocheng International Photography Exhibition (外籍攝影師鏡頭下的大稻埕) which featured the work of both local and expat photographers and will remain on display for the entirely of the festival. 

As I mentioned in my previous post about the Dadaocheng Photowalks, the photo exhibition had a focus on documentarian street photography-style photos that would help tell the story of the residents of Dadaocheng, the history of the area and also its revitalization over recent years.  

To that effect, the curator of the event TC Lin organized several photowalks in August and September which led both foreign and local photographers around Dadaocheng to get shots to contribute to the event, network with each other and learn about the area.

The photowalks that TC arranged led us around most popular and well-known areas of Dihua Street (迪化街) but also much further down the road into areas that are not as commonly visited by tourists as well as areas that are only just recently starting to receive a bit of attention in terms of revitalization.

The first photowalk was more of an introduction to the event and a bit of a tour around the area for people who were unfamiliar while the second walk was more of us just walking around, taking cover from torrential downpours, chatting and taking photos. 

As I mentioned in my previous blog about the photowalks, I typically spend most of my time at these events chatting with friends I haven’t seen for a while, so in order to get enough photos to submit to the event, I did a solo photowalk around the area in conjunction with a visit to the famous Dadaocheng Wharf on a day that turned out to have one of the prettiest sunsets of the year. 

The exhibition opened last Sunday and attracted quite a few visitors as well as most of the photographers who took part in the event. It was a wonderful afternoon spent enjoying the company of friends new and old and enjoying the different perspectives of Dadaocheng that were put on display  by photographers from all over the world. 

Split up into two different venues including URS127 Art Factory (URS127玩藝工場) and URS27W Film Range (URS27W城市影像實驗室), the exhibition which will run for the entire month is open to the public free of charge. 

A few days earlier TC contacted me and requested that I say a few words to the crowd about the event - At first I was a bit apprehensive due to how much I embarrassed myself at my solo photo exhibition a month or so earlier but ultimately agreed and did my best not to embarrass myself too much. Fortunately I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching the Dadaocheng area for my blogs about the City God Temple, Bao-An Temple, and the last few years of visiting the annual Dihua Street Lunar New Year Market

In the gallery below, I’m sharing some of my photos that were featured at the exhibition with the original and an iPhone shot of the photo on the wall. With all the talent involved in the event I was both surprised and honoured that so many of my photos were chosen to be featured in both venues of the exhibition. 

I want to thank TC Lin, Chenbl Chen and all the organizers of the Tua-Tiu-Tiann International Festival of Arts who put together this event. I also want to thank the friends who came out to support us - especially those people who have followed my work for a while but haven’t had a chance to meet! 

I'd also like to show my appreciation to some of the other photographers who took part in the event and contributed their work and vision to the event. Quite a few of those photographers are my friends, so if you'd like to know more about them, you may want to check out the following people: Darren Melrose, Brian Wiemer, Neil Wade, Dilip Bhoye, Filipe Rios, Tyson Skriver and Ken Dickson

The exhibition will be on until the end of October, so if you are in Taipei and have any free time, you should definitely head over to check out the exhibition spaces as well as taking part in some of the great events planned over the next month!  

Exhibition Period: 10/01 ~ 10/31 (展出日期:10/01 ~ 10/31) 

Main Exhibition: URS127 Art Factory ( #127, Dihua Street. Section 1. Taipei)

主展場:URS127玩藝工場 - 台北市迪化街一段127號

Secondary Exhibition: URS 27W Film Range (#27, Yan-Ping Road. Section 2.  Taipei)

展場二:URS 27W 城市影像實驗室 - 台北市延平北路二段27號

 Tua-Tiu-Tiann International Festival of Arts: Website | Facebook | Event Schedule

People of the Night 19 (基隆廟口夜市)

The Keelung Miaokou Tourist Night Market (基隆廟口夜市) is often introduced by Travel guides as a MUST visit on any travellers as the night market is well-known for its diversity of Taiwanese delicacies and being so close to the sea - it's fresh selection of seafood dishes. The night market is jam-packed with Taiwanese and foreigners walking shoulder-to-shoulder every night of the week and it truly is a purely Taiwanese experience that shouldn't be missed while visiting the country. In my first post of shots from the night market I focused on seafood dishes which the night market is the most famous for, the second post was all about the meat while this post has various desserts, juice and an uncommon sight in a night market - a vegetarian stall!

Miaokou Part 1 | Miaokou Part 2

1. Iced Desserts (QQ涼圓)

I love this shot, it was one of the first shots I took at the night market while visiting. I arrived at the night market a bit early because I planned on eating before the crowds arrived and getting the lay of the land to better understand what the night market was about. This vendor sat at the entrance of the night market with her cart full of icy Taiwanese desserts and she looked like she wasn't having the best day. One of my favourite shots from the Raohe nightmarket was also of a vendor selling these delicious little treats (although the setting is completely different) basically, these are little gelatinous balls that are served in a bag of shedded ice with a scoop of brown sugar sauce on top and the vendor will give you a toothpick to pick them out. They are a cheap dessert and are traditional Taiwanese snacks, so of course I recommend you try them! 

2. Candied strawberries/tomatoes (糖葫蘆)

Taiwanese people don't really have a “sweet tooth” like North Americans do - Whenever my mom sends candy from home and I share it with my friends, they always complain about how sweet it I and  I usually just roll my eyes as I think they're crazy. The tables always turn on me when it comes to these candied fruit kebabs though. They are just like candied apples back home, but you get strawberries or cherry tomatoes on a stick and they are soaked in the candy and the end result is almost disgustingly sweet - Way too much for my tastebuds at least. Even worse is when when you get the cherry tomato version and it is both too sweet and too sour at the same time. Despite my overactive tastebuds not appreciating these kebabs, Taiwanese kids love them and they're almost the perfect snack for children visiting the night market. 

3. Fresh Orange Juice (新鮮果汁) 

This vendor actually pissed me off a bit, she was advertising 100% orange juice, which initially had me excited as fresh orange juice is one of my favourite drinks. I stopped and bought a 100NT bottle and was planning on drinking it on the train back home. When I got on the train I opened up my juice and tasted a watered down orange juice with way too much sugar. Clearly this vendor was set up to sell to tourists and even though I've been here over ten years, I still fell for a tourist trap. I've had fresh 100% orange juice like this in other night markets so I was a bit surprised that someone would sell drinks like this at a night market, but Miaokou is a very touristy night market and it is often frequented by Chinese tourists, so I guess the vendor took the opportunity to make a quick buck.

4. Sweet Potato Pancakes (地瓜餅) 

Pancakes aren't a really a big thing in Taiwan as people here much prefer waffles covered in everything from ice cream and fruit to tuna and corn. It's not that common to find pancakes in a night market, but then again these aren't really the pancakes that you're thinking about. These pancakes are made from a sweet potato based paste and pan fried. They are sweet, but also a bit bland in flavour. I'm not particularly a big fan of sweet potatoes so I'm probably not the best judge as to whether these actually taste good or not, but for my palate they seem to be missing something. If it were up to me, I'd just add maple syrup, but that's just because I'm Canadian and that's how we roll.

5. Vegetarian Food (素食) 

Vegetarian food in the night market? Well, I suppose they have to cater to everybody! Taiwan's night markets aren't really the most friendly places for our hipster veggie-eating friends to find some food, but on occasion you can find a vegetarian-friendly stall or two in every night market. This particular vendor serves up several vegetarian noodle dishes as well as soup and Japanese-style curry rice. They're all probably pretty tasty if you're a vegetarian but I'm much more prone to eating the much tastier variety of night market snacks than trying this kind. 

That's it for the Keelung Miaokou night market. I'll go back to posting normal stuff for a while and then after a month or two I'll probably do another set from another night market. I hope you enjoyed the shots so far and if you're interested you can check out all of the other night market posts in the links below.