Seoul-based photographer and creative director Au Matt, known for his work with publications including Vogue Korea and Mother magazine, talks about the inspiration behind his film Gods of the Underworld:
“In Taipei there are underworld ceremonial military leaders called Guanjiang Shou. They act as a kind of secret service when a god is said to have left its temple, scaring off bad spirits with their fierce makeup, elaborate costumes and firecrackers. Most of the Taoist temples are connected to the mafia—operated by cash donations and tax exempt—so many of the boys who perform the Guanjiang Shou ritual are debt collectors, bouncers or bodyguards in their daily life.
“The Guanjiang Shou scare off bad spirits with their fierce makeup, elaborate costumes and firecrackers”
“Taipei was my first home in Asia after leaving Europe. We went back to my old neighbourhood and shot the film over 25 hours, completely guerrilla style—using the bars, shops and markets I was familiar with.”