During my time in Taiwan I spent as much time as possible exploring with my Hasselblad. It was the first time I had taken my camera out properly since quitting fashion photography and it gave me a reason to truley explore this new, bizarre country, more thoroughly than I would have done otherwise.

A lot of these images were taken during Taoist rituals and ceremonies and I was surprised by the encouragement from local people to take pictures. It initially felt rude and impending, and it was strange to be almost pushed into photographing the unusual religious events unfolding meters in front of me. I began to get comfortable with the concept of people not only being okay with their picture being taken, but actually wanting it, and as my Chinese improved slightly, it was nice to be able to at least tell them my name, and what I was doing in Taiwan (teaching English).

I was living in Tainan, the oldest city in Taiwan (and also the name of the entire county) and a city that boasts the most Taoist and Buddhist temples than anywhere else in Taiwan. There’s a lot of history in Tainan, and it has the feel of a large town, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to it over the capital, Taipei. Three of these temples were on the road I was living, and regularly held events to entertain the God’s, like puppet shows, pole-dancers and music, as well as firecrackers at eight in the morning to scare ghosts away. One such event was an evening where a spirit-medium had been apparently possessed by a God, and he was throwing himself shirtless across the temple. A goat was splayed out nearby, ready to be eaten, and I was invited in to photograph and offered beer and cigarettes.

I came across another ceremony riding my scooter on the outskirts of the city, where men in traditional outfits and Nike trainers were burning ghost money (joss paper) to send to ancestors to spend in the afterlife. Apparently more modern forms of joss paper include papier-mâché clothes, houses, cars and even technologies like iPhones, to make sure your dead Aunt isn’t missing out on the latest trends.

Sunrise and sunset were the only times I would photograph, and after exploring the roads one morning at 5am, I came across a fish market that runs from about 11pm to the morning. Despite having no mutual language, I befriended a lot of the fishermen and workers, who would share beer, food and cigarettes with me every time I went back.