A guide to the New East

Open for business

Peek inside the small shops still thriving in Taiwan

Kaohsiung, situated on the southwestern coast of Taiwan, was once little more than a small trading village. Today it is the second largest city on the island after Taipei, a major port and industrial hub. Yet the current metropolis still thrives on its small, often family-owned businesses. On her trip to Taiwan, Serbian architect and photographer Marija Strajnić swapped the tourist attractions for a chance to document these modest yet prolific workshops.

“The interiors of these small shops were very interesting for me as they were often filled with all sorts of micro-objects. I wanted to capture the essence of these spaces, and I realised that it would only be possible if I literally invaded them, by jumping in and snapping a photograph of whatever was inside,” she describes.

This series was published as one of the chapters of A Chord, a photo book Strajnić made together with photographer Katarina Šoškić about their experience of dislocation, adaptation and intimacy. In some way these small businesses and their owners served as an inspiration, due to their ability to make the most out of their environment and to greet the unpredictable with a welcoming smile.

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