Army Days

Spring 1996, East Asia. Alarmed by Taiwan’s rapid democratization and the prominence of pro-independence voices in the island’s first ever presidential election campaign, China launches ballistic missiles into the sea near Taiwan as a blunt message: Choose a pro-independence candidates and pay for it in blood. Amid this turmoil, I was starting my mandatory service in the Taiwanese army, two years at a mountain base in the nation’s craggy interior. Though photography was forbidden, I snuck disposable film cameras onto my base to document a world that would soon be relegated to history as Taiwan’s military system underwent seismic changes in the following decades.