This is a photograph of my father, Ralph Turner, taken in Taipei, Taiwan, circa 1964 by Kao Dah-Leo. It was taken at a banquet held in my father’s honor by the Central Police Academy where he was a visiting fulbright scholar teaching classes in criminology.
What interests me about the photograph is that my father’s back is reflected in the angled mirror hanging on the wall behind him. According to the principles of Feng Shui, mirrors are thought to channel good energy. My father’s location beneath the mirror identifies him as the guest of honor at the head of the table. In a culture where “face” assumes such importance, however, the inadvertent reflection of my father’s back would be an embarrassment.
I also read the decapitated, cut-off-at-the-knees reflection in the angled mirror as an accidental critique of the neo-colonial project in which my father, attired in a white linen tropical suit, was a participant.
Richard Turner, Artist