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Chih Hsien Chen, Taiwanese youth
Photography Chih Hsien Chen

The weird and wonderful world of Taiwanese youth

Glimpse the underbelly of Taiwan’s youth culture where rebellious girls rule the nightlife

“I remember while I was growing up, I wasn’t happy during my studies between junior high school and senior high school because my ideas were not acceptable for my classmates. It wasn’t until I met my friends who studied art from different places around Taiwan that I gradually started capturing my daily life with photography, as my life and the people within it got much more interesting.”

This is how photographer Chih Hsien Chen explains the origins of his love of photography and the people he captures within his work – images filled with friends and strangers lurking and playing amongst the underbelly of Taiwanese nightlife. Set in Tainan, Chen’s photographs are animated and playful, and has a hint of rebellion which was inspired by his own experiences, and discovering a world where his work was celebrated. “I knew a lot of friends over time who had the same aspirations and beliefs during my time at university, and they really got who I am and served as my inspiration.”

While studying at the Tainan University of Technology, Chen’s photography skills developed, as he began to experience a darker side to Tainan that caught his attention. While Chen’s photography developed at an older age, he does recall some early memories that possibly foretold his future career; “I think I was fond of photography since I was little, the pleasure of pressing the shutter while taking pictures of my family was indescribable.”

In Chen’s images, the 22-year-old photographer documents the hidden side of Tainan, where girls are ruling the nightlife dressed in their polka dots and Lolita-esque-heart-shaped sunnies. The youthfulness of these girls is a key element to Chen’s overall philosophy, stating; “I believe that we need to document these moments. Although the youth culture of Tainan is unknown to many, I want to shine a light on where I’m from, and to capture the many different ways we experience and spend our youth.”

See more of Chih Hsien Chen’s work here