Tai-Niu

by Nymph Lee, Manbo Key, Chien-Wen Lin

The lives of these girls,
more or less contaminated by the shadow of the city,
they dare to be different, fearless,
sketched out in this beautiful book of a Taipei Revelation.
— To all the bravest Tai-Niu

※ The most charming portraits of the women of Taipei

The original inspiration was born between two queer photographers–
first place recipient of the Taipei Fine Arts Award, Manbo Key,
and the emerging photographer Chien-Wen Lin,
with female writer and fashion magazine editor Li Zhaorong.
The three of them worked together in hopes that
through poignant photography and text,
everyone can see this generation of Taipei girls,
who are “a little different,” “a little edgy,” that they “have stories.”
What kind of connection lies between them and the city?

Without seeking to “redefine” Taipei girls, 
the authors simply wish to break from mainstream values and aesthetics.
Using angles that might not be completely politically correct or in line with the public’s imagination,
they dig deep into the “realness” that thrives in their surroundings,
presenting unique and diverse Taipei girls.

Some of these girls might seem to live “on the fringe,”
and some girls live in ways you “cannot understand.”

However, this special “sample selection” is found through
fieldwork that tries to explore and understand contemporary Taiwanese women.
It is also an opportunity to share alternative portrayals of female power in Taipei,
particularly within the subcultures of the city.

Yes, we hope that through these stories of girls who dare to be themselves,
the negative image of the “Tai-Niu” that has been imprinted in the minds of the impassive public
may be transformed. That is the inspiration of the book’s title,
“Tai-Niu.”

※ Stories of 20 Taipei women across three generations

“Tai-Niu” is a collection of stories from 20 people living in Taipei.
Their ages span across the 20s, 30s, and 40s.
These are women with completely different personalities, appearances,
talents, temperaments, and occupations.
Some are social media influencers, some actors, some designers,
who might appear successful in life –
yet all of them possess a rebellious streak that refuses
to conform to the mainstream.

The authors walked through their private homes and studios,
deep within the playground of Taipei city.
Through in-depth interviews and engaging visual imagery,
the authors try to answer the question, what kind of life are these women living?
Can we understand and see the true shape of their lives, feelings, jobs, and dreams?

Perhaps ordinary. Perhaps extraordinary.

These women –

May be a rebel at birth, or an overly romantic drama queen,
may be an artist who can be a little crazy, a role model who educates,
or a talented transgender designer, or a stylist who insists on wearing lolita dress,
or an extremely composed nightclub DJ.

The only thing they share in common is
that they are not one to adjust themselves to that of social expectations.
They remain strong-willed, embracing the different,
even if they live in their own little universe on the edges of society,
they are fearless.

※ The photographer duo with the most invigorating styles

The book of photography has been used by popular celebrities in recent years.
Well-known MW Studio TW photographers —
First place winner of the Taipei Fine Arts Awards, Manbo Key, whose work
encompasses art, design, and fashion,
working together with Chien-Wen Lin.

“Tai-Niu” is produced with utmost thought and care, with a full spread of content,
and is their longest project, a collection of photographs observing society and social life.

Their visual style is bold, the language of their photography striking,
working well to establish deep connections with the subject through the camera.

Through the camera lens, they depict images
that are psychedelic, retro, fulfilling, alienated, and intimate,
as well as a hint of undeniable Taiwanese flavour,
to better capture the inner and outer lives of the 20 women in the book,
even their very souls.

Through free-handed candids–
contemporary spaces and living beings are presented,
creating an aesthetic that only they can shoot.

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