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Preface

Preface

I was born and grew up in the countryside. So I am not

well-learned. Studying photography for half a century, I polish my skills with my own experiences and experiments. I like to make use of the stuff in the neighborhood, and convey the folk-tale of my land and my people. Taking the pictures of the cow is my favorite, also my best-love.

In my reminiscence, we had raised a middle-sized yellow cow,

and then another bigger one. Cutting glass to feed her was my chore after school. Because of long staying with us, that big cow was taming and amicable. Her only weakness was her big appetite. I often received a scold just because I was unable to make her full.

In the early years, most farmers all raised the cattle. They

undertake the heavy work, such as plowing the field and transporting the cargo. With a rope on its nose, people are able to control its movement, and make it follow the order. The cattle not only share the happiness and the sorrow with their master, but also play as a faithful family member. The deep affection for the cow is the power, which has driven me to press unceasingly the shutter of my camera.

In 1997, the year of the ox, I retired and started a new career

plan -- holding an exhibition“Cow Show”. A circle of 12 years swiftly passing away, my dream has not come true yet. In the coming new age, the mold of farming technique has changed a lot. Machines are used to plow the field. That transition endangers the fate of all the conventional cows and leads them to be out of job. According the official census: the head-number of Taiwan water buffalo in 1999 reaches 9562; yellow cow 24075. The head-number of water buffalo in 2007 remained 3595; and the situation was even was even worse, for yellow cow only 3737 survived. Most of them are distributing in the southern and eastern mountain areas. Long time ago, it was easy for us to meet the cow and take their pictures, but it becomes hard right now.

Throughout the long term of taking the cattle pictures, I have come upon with a lot of interesting stories and adventurous events. I have been chased by a large group of water buffalo. As a matter of facts, that was all my fault, because I failed to know the cattle’s nature. You know all cattle are poor-sighted. Out of curiosity, they approach you and sniff about your body just to make something clear. Their movement shows no hostility at all.

Once upon a time, I drove my car through a narrow country road along the river. Without noticing two policemen following me, I was stopped to question and investigate for a moment. When they made sure I was not an ill-purposed intruder, they set me free, and showed me the roaming place of the cattle.

Once more, I went to the southern mountain areas to take some cattle pictures. As far as I knew, there were full of the cattle. But this time when I arrived, nothing could I find. When I was amid confusion, a motorcycle-riding woman came to help me, and showed me the hillside not far away. She told me there were some people raising a lot of cattle. I followed her indication and saw a large group of water buffaloes grazing in the forest. I took pictures to my heart’s content that day.

Since I have taken the cattle pictures for so many years, I get familiar with the personality of the cattle. But there is still something lost – I still fail to grasp the personified image of the cattle with my camera.

In the early years of learning photography, our society often consulted famous photographers for instructions. One of the experts was the director of Taipei Photo Society – Dr. Chang Jing-der. He revealed us the idea of photo plans. His progressive conception impressed me deeply. That was he who encouraged me to compile my works on the topic of“Taiwan Cows”. Now I am so grateful to him for my publication of this album.

As the year of the ox arrives again, I am so touched by the article“Remembering My Buffalo, Neu-ei”published in China Times, written by Huang Chao-sung, chairman of the CAN. Through his expressive description, he narrated all the trivials of raising an old narrated all the emotion to his lifetime companion. It’s a true saying in Hakka that our knees would shed tears after reading the article. We are so thankful to him for translating this masterpiece into English and offering reprinting. This proves Mr. Huang’s diligence and true learning.

Many thanks to Mr. Chang Cheng, chairman of Hakka Radio – your earnest concerns will be greatly appreciated. Thanks also goes to Sir Chen Yun-jin, a member of our Stubborn-neck Photo Group, for his English translation. Finally, I would express my sincere gratitude to the people who have helped me all the way, and the members of my family.

In spite of my poor learning, I still hold the passion to the art of photography, and I will keep on going in the same way. Finally, in order to perfect my techniques in photography, any comments and advice are welcomed.
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