This past December was my first time traveling back to Taiwan in over nine years. And the last time I went, I was 10, so I honestly don’t remember much from my trip then.
It was truly a life changing experience and one that has changed my perspective not only on Taiwan, but also on the United States. And as a photographer, I wanted to document every bit of my journey through Taiwan with my mother and cousin.
After visiting my family in Kaohsiung, we decided to travel up the east coast of the island, as we had come down from Taipei on the west via high-speed rail. So our first stop after Kaohsiung was in Taitung. After a day in Toroko Park, our taxi driver took us back to our hotel in Taitung and we headed out onto the streets in search of food.
I believe we were around the intersection of Zhengqi and Zhongshan roads when I captured this image. The streets were lined with stalls, selling street food, clothes, fruit and basically anything and everything you’d expect to find in a outdoor Taiwanese market.
I had just bought a cup of sugar cane juice (which was quite heavenly) when I heard the familiar sound of a moped speed by and stop in front of me. A couple had stopped in front of a produce stall and the woman on the moped hopped off to browse through the vegetables. It was then I realized there was actually a child as well. He had been sandwiched between the mother and father, as a basic form of safety I suppose (not that traffic safety is really followed in Taiwan…).
Here he was, holding onto his father’s massive hands as his mother bought ingredients for a future meal. And as I kneeled down to take a shot, he just happened to turn his head and stare right into my camera lens. Honestly, he was probably more confused as to what I was doing. To him, I was a faceless individual, a guy with a lens in place of a face. But to me, he was a glimpse into what my childhood could have potentially been, had my parents not immigrated to the United States. And it was that one choice that had given us two completely different lives.
Benjamin Dunn never leaves home without a camera. Whether it’s a short trip to the market, a coffee break from work or just a food adventure with friends, he always has it ready for whatever situation may arise. It’s a trend that started back in high school, when Dunn picked up photography through his journalism classes. Ever since, it’s become an integral part of his life and one of his greatest hobbies.
He shoots a wide variety of subjects, from portrait photography, to PAC-12 sporting events, and concerts with names like Phantogram and New Politics. A love for storytelling and photojournalism has taken him onto 110 freeway in Los Angeles, where he documented Angelenos reactions to the Ferguson situation, and was shot at by LAPD officers. And he’s spent time at Skid Row, one of the densest homeless neighborhoods in the United States, to share the stories of those without a voice. His work has been featured with the Daily Beast, Mashable, NBC Los Angeles and the European Pressphoto Agency.
Dunn is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Print/Digital Journalism as well as a double minor in Web Development and Graphic Design at the University of Southern California. He hopes to combine his passion for storytelling, coding and graphics to work on interactive web graphics and change how we receive our information in the future.
In his rare bits of free time, he enjoys spending time on YouTube, discovering new boba shops, exploring Los Angeles’ public transit systems and eating 排骨飯.