Photographers Henrik Matzen and Jonas Hoholt have released the hyper-lapse film A Taste of Taiwan II, and it’s even more vibrant than the first. Their love of Taiwan — the heart of Asia — is obvious; whether it’s scenes of nature or cityscape, the pair capture the spirit of Taiwan beautifully.
“A Taste of Taiwan II is made with love and passion throughout one year of Henrik traveling back and forth several times between Denmark and Taiwan to shoot, and finally peaking in April 2019 when Jonas went to Taiwan for the first time together with Henrik for 10 days to shoot the final scenes together,” the team said.
Home away from home
Henrik is from Denmark. For him, Taiwan was love at first sight — the country felt like home the moment he stepped into what was then Chiang Kai Shek Airport. That was 13 years ago in 2005, and he’s kept going back for more.
“It is very hard to describe, but I just felt like I had been here before… Only Taiwan somehow makes me feel calm and relaxed,” said Henrik in an interview with My Kaohsiung. “Except having a passion for photography, you also need extreme patience to endure,” he says about creating time-lapse photography.
For A Taste of Taiwan II, Henrik shot more than 100,000 photos from all over Taiwan during a period of one year, then picked out around 25,000 of the best in their original full-length sequences. The film’s background music was specially tailored by composer Joona Lätti. Finally, Jonas edited and perfected everything post-production.
A gift for Taiwan
“Taiwan is my second home,” says Henrik with a smile — a place with many unforgettable memories.”A few years ago, two police officers chased me in Kaohsiung. They asked me not to run. I thought: ‘God, have I done something wrong?’ After they caught up with me, they said with a smile: ‘Welcome to Kaohsiung, welcome to Taiwan,’” he recalls.
“Welcome home” has become a greeting used often by his Taiwanese friends. Henrik says the film series is his gift of love for Taiwan. The first Taste of Taiwan was published on Facebook at the end of May 2018 and quickly gained popularity. The team had spent three months shooting around 70,000 photos. What they captured highlighted the beauty and vibrancy of several tourist locations, as well as some hideaways; they shed new light on scenes that many locals had come to take for granted. “Going up the mountain, I felt that I might not be able to make it,” said Henrik, recalling his experience of shooting from high altitude.
In just 30 seconds of time-lapse, the scene drifts from Sun Moon Lake to Lianchitan, Xiangshan to Foguang Mountain, Kaohsiung Port to Taipei Nangang, from dawn to dusk — each segment took hours of patience to capture, and a lot of thought went into each angle of light or dark.
“The film is beautiful; thank you for everything you’ve done for Taiwan,” commented a local Taiwanese about the film. “Thank you very much for showing me my hometown — the most beautiful place in the world — and also to the world’s people through the film,” said another. “Memories reverberate” and “Suddenly missing Taiwan” were some comments made by international visitors to Taiwan.
Labor of love
Both A Taste of Taiwan and A Taste of Taiwan II are freely available to watch on YouTube or Vimeo.
A Taste of Taiwan:
A Taste of Taiwan II:
“This is also the way I can help Taiwan. Even though it is burning money, I want to continue shooting,” said Henrik. It took six months to find sponsors and raise the funds to make the film possible. Eventually, Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau and EVA Air jumped on board to contribute. “[Taiwan], keep being yourself, stay positive and friendly, keep cooking the most delicious food in the world — support startup companies and do welcome foreigners and tourists to Taiwan to bring some better economy to the country again. Not all foreigners are bad,” says Henrik.
Translated by Yi Ming and edited by Emiko Kingswell