Shen Chao-Liang's photos of Taiwanese cabaret performers

I read about this guy, 沈昭良, in last month’s Taiwan Review, and his work is really cool, especially this series of traveling “cabaret” stages. (Shen’s site also has a good English description of the history of this kind of performance.) The series reminds me a bit of Tobie Openshaw’s photos of betelnut girls, only these show only the stage, not the people. Shen shot another series of black-and-white portraits of the performers, but the link on his site appears to be broken, and I don’t think the photos are being exhibited anywhere right now.

I absolutely love photography like this. Besides reminding me of why I love Taiwan, it also gives me a glimpse into a fascinating world that I could never be a part of.

These show up at funerals I’m told. But I have no idea what part of the country you’d have to go to find one.

I saw one group show up in rural Taoyuan several years ago but didn’t get to see them perform. You’re right that they perform at funerals–Radio Taiwan International did a story about it last year.

I think the funeral aspect is overblown.

Interesting. I watched the documentary in question (it was like $1 to ‘rent’ a digital copy) and while the narrator’s voice is pretty darn monotonous, the content was interesting. He did actually focus on funerary strippers and showed them at services of mourning, but I’m not surprised to hear that they’re more frequently used for other events.

Still, I have no idea where to go to catch one.

Tobie Openshaw shot a story on this for Nat Geo TV a while ago. … 6749690378

Yeah I shot the Nat Geo piece in Changhua county. While there are still many occasions where girls dance on the “Electric Flower Cars” at temple celebrations, the funeral pole dancing is declining a lot. We had to wait several months for a suitable funeral to come round. You can see my behind-the-scenes snapshots from that shoot here: … 843580722/