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Documentary photography: Capturing life, Vol. 14 - 2007, No. 3

Documentary Photography: Ren Jian and Guan Xiaorong in late 1980s Taiwan

, pages: 49-64[open access]

This essay provides a contextualised account of social documentary photography in Taiwan during the second half of the 1980s and a critical review of Ren Jian magazine within a case study of Guan Xiao-rong’s Dignity and Humiliation. The latter emerges as an exemplary documentary work on the socio-political issues of an ethnic group of indigenous Taiwanese. The essay suggests that Guan’s mixed position of documentary photographer and campaign activist made his photographs a distinctive and rare humanistic contribution with a politicised dimension.

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