Born in 1993, Taiwanese photographer Chih Hsien Chen‘s foray into photography began during university when he enrolled in a course on film photography, but his interest in the medium didn’t truly take off until he began documenting the peculiar people and strange encounters in his daily life. Released last year, his photo series INTERNET CAFE! PANDA offers a jarring and candid look at life inside a Taichung internet café.
生于 1993 年的台湾摄影家陈志贤，在大学期间就已经在学习摄影，但要说对摄影产生浓厚的兴趣，则要到他真正用镜头记录下了日常生活中的“奇人佚事”的那一刻起。去年他的摄影系列《网吧！熊猫》（INTERNET CAFE! PANDA）发布，也给我们提供了一窥某家台中网吧里真实生活的机会。
The series began shortly after Chen graduated college and moved to the city of Taichung in search of employment, but after going through a series of failed interviews, he was left feeling hopeless towards the future. One day, he stumbled across a job posting for a position at an internet café. It seemed like a good fit for him – the location was convenient to his apartment, the hours were ideal, and it gave him the freedom to take on side projects in his spare time.
After he started working, Chen began to take an interest in the customers who frequented the café. His experience working there was quite different from his memories of visiting internet cafés during his youth – most of the customers were middle-aged or older, and a large number of them were vagrants. Students and younger customers would only visit during weekends or holidays when they weren’t in school.
Chen observed a shocking amount of questionable behavior during his time working at the café. Some customers would openly watch porn and leave it running on their screens even after they fell asleep. One customer would cover the café’s dirty headphones with toilet paper as a way to avoid direct skin contact with their ears. Others would even relieve themselves on the seats of the café, refusing to leave their computers to use the restroom. Chen’s photo series is a whimsical glimpse into Taiwanese internet café culture where adhering to social and moral norms seems to be optional.