Rock'n Row!

by Fong Mao on Tuesday, 18 March 2008 Comments
At the time of my first visit to Orchid Island in April 2007, no matter how bad the weather conditions were, I enjoyed one week of discovering parts of the island’s environment and the Tao’s culture. I also heard for the first time about the “Keep rowing” project also known as “Ipanga na”.
I soon realized how meaningful this maritime journey project was. It included more than 100 Tao men, broadly aging from 30 years old to nearly 80, rowing together from Orchid Island to Taipei. Moreover, they were going to row on the biggest traditional boat ever built on the island, and I decided to start researches on this project.
The organizers and the rowers gave me the chance to follow and record them all along the East Coast of Taiwan in June and July 2007. Thus, I had the opportunity to grasp more understandings on Tao’s oceanic culture’s and I also gathered more than 1000 thousands pictures retracing their journey.
Since I spent so many days taking pictures of the rowers and the boat, looking for new shooting angles soon became a challenge. The whole set of my pictures was very alike, except from one roll. One day I couldn’t follow the exhaustive rhythm of the rowers, and, by mistake, I put back in my camera the film I just finished. It resulted into a double exposed roll from which these 5 pictures have been chosen.
To me, these pictures do not only have some kinds of surrealistic aspects, but they also have a representational strength. On one hand, they carry lots of information, giving more possibilities to experience and to imagine the whole process of the journey: from the rowing to the resting times. On the other hand, they are also very lively and look animated as they retrace the dynamism and the rhythm of this maritime journey.
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Want to know more about Orchid Island boats? Read

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