Through candid snapshots in "INTERNET CAFE! PANDA", Taiwan’s up-and-coming photographer Chih-Hsien Chen captures the deranged, offbeat, whimsical essence of old-school internet cafés.

The series originated from Chen's time waiting tables at a peculiar internet café in Taichung. The regulars? Mainly mid-aged folks who made the café chairs their homes. Meet the bald guy who loves falling asleep to X-rated movies, the hooker charging TWD600 a pop, and the grandpa who always sits in the last row by the wall with the recyclables that he’s piled up. While Chen bussed their dishes, he couldn’t help but be fascinated by their odd behaviors.

During his breaks, Chen would whip out his camera and capture the lively, sometimes ridiculous scenes. Disheveled people sleeping in obtuse positions, looking like they've been shot in the head. Semen found underneath the tables, excrements prevalent in the staircases: anarchic sights in complete disregard for societal norms or decorum. In a world obsessed with aesthetics and politeness, this shabby internet café preserved a raw slice of humanity.

The photos in this book paint a vivid portrait of Taiwan’s fringe society: laborers, sex workers, the homeless, and scavengers. The flash illuminates their myriad sleeping postures and hourly existence, some bizarre, some hilariously awkward. Yet, these are their unfiltered internet café lives.

Chih-Hsien Chen, from Tainan, is a fresh talent in the photography scene. His work often captures everyday life with a humorous twist, blending playful absurdity with extreme oddity. His quirky and engaging style challenges visual experiences, drawing inspiration from comics, magazines, and movie scenes.

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