A Letter to Su Wanqin

尋找蘇萬欽 A Letter to Su Wanqin
相紙 Photography
2016

This work is a cooperation with my long-time collaborator, scriptwriter Chen Wan-Yin. It based on a special tradition in the history of photography in Taiwan. It adopts a particular skill of making self-portraits in the 1960s by collaging a figure’s headshot with a painted body and background. These photos functioned as a memorial portrait of the old or the deceased. Due to the commodification, the same painted background in the pictures often appear in different families. The portrait photo of 103 years old Su Wanqin is the first example I found that its background identical to my grandfather’s photo. In the searching of the information about Su Wanqin, we learned that he once participated in the war in China as a Japanese soldier in the 1940s and now is the oldest Nationalist Party member alive.
 
After writing a letter telling him about the finding of identical painted background in the portraits, we got a reply from the son of Su Wanqin. The son wrote on his father’s behalf to expose the condition of the old man’s late life. We built a relationship as short-term pen pals.
 
 
〈尋找蘇萬欽〉是與長期合作的夥伴陳琬尹共同創作,靈感來自於台灣攝影史中一個很特別的案例。這種紀念照片是60年代流行的技術,可在照相館挑選已繪製好的複製畫,再將人物的大頭照剪貼上去。相片沖洗店、文具店都能買的到這樣的複製畫,因此在不同家庭裡,可能有著一模一樣的身體與背景的寫真照。

我從陳琬尹的祖父紀念照開始尋找,而「蘇萬欽」是我們在網路上第一個找到、相同紀念照的提供者。蘇萬欽先生已經103歲,可說是一位見證台灣史的人物,從早期以日本兵身分到中國參與軍事行動,現在則是還在世的、最老的國民黨黨員…從祖父照片搜索,最終卻尋找到了蘇萬欽這一位人物。陳琬尹寫了一封信寄給蘇萬欽先生,並複製了一份展示出來。

後來蘇萬欽先生的兒子,因其父身體不適,代筆回信給陳琬尹,與她成為了極短暫的筆友。



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