I have been travelling in Canada with my family for a couple of months and was pleased to find out my photo was used for the cover of Topics Travel and Culture issue. The article, ‘Drumming Their Way to Respect‘, is about Chio-tian Folk Drums & Art Troupe (九天民俗技藝團) — the troupe the Taiwanese movie ‘Dintao: Leader of the Parade‘ was based on.
Mariah (瑪利亞), or Chen Shi-min (陳世旻), was an actor in the movie but is also one of the longest-active members of the troupe. He played himself in the movie.
He is a large man and his drumming is awesomely powerful. I was surprised when I discovered he was so gentle and soft-spoken off-stage and it was my hope to show this dichotomy in the photographs. When I was interviewing Chio-tian Folk Drums & Art Troupe (九天民俗技藝團) in Taichung, he was filming for the soap opera ‘牽手’ in Taipei. On the second day of interviewing just as I was preparing to return to Tainan, he came back. Although was very tired he graciously agreed to a quick interview which turned into quite a long one because he was so interesting. After the interview I asked if I could photograph him. He grudgingly agreed (he was tired of all the attention he got in Taipei) and I set up in the red taro fields outside the temple. The setting was ideal; a brooding mass of clouds above and nice dirt road snaking off in the background. I was very excited because I thought I could make a very powerful image. Sadly, just as I was working out the exposure it began to rain and the drum had to be taken in and I had to leave soon after that.
I managed to salvage this photo used on the cover from the few poorly lit photos I took. I am very pleased with the background exposure, but I had to do a lot of Photoshop work on the badly positioned and over-exposed backlight. I hope to get another opportunity to photograph this charismatic man again sometime.