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    从个人体验到共同观看
     
    作者:李楠 发布时间: 2015-05-18 14:48:08
     
     

      近年来,民俗学有一个时髦的名字:非物质文化遗产。这名字有多时髦?只需看看各相关学术机构纷纷更换门庭,以“非物质文化遗产”为前缀后缀,就知道一旦“被遗产”了,是多么荣耀的一件事。


      这只能说,某些事民俗学者并不自信。不自信,才要拿时髦说辞撑撑腰杆。而这不自信的背后呢?暴露的是当下文化心理上的矛盾:复杂、变化、多元的形态与潮流导致了文化中心点与话语权的更迭与置换;精英与大众,主流与非主流,即使尚未被全面颠覆,至少已然大不同于以往。何去何从?似乎左右两难。--这一不自信同时又相当自负的矛盾心理,决非民俗学中独有,雾气弥漫所至,文化界、艺术界、乃至时下最当红的摄影界似乎一概“迷朦了双眼”。在整体文化“视觉转向”的当代,摄影,作为一种主要且重要的视觉手段,某种意义上,与民俗学的表现颇有相似之处:在实际愈来愈受重视的聚光灯下反而模糊了自我,潜意识里总觉得那灯光是照别人碰巧反射到了自己--这些年对摄影本体研究的热切呼唤,可以理解为理论家们愿意触及真问题了,但其实更反映了一种思想、心态上的迷失与困惑--找不着北的时候,才要急不可待地祭出指南针。


      如此背景之下,当中国的蔡焕松,与日本的久保田博二,对于潮汕民俗的同题摄影PK作品摆到我眼前时,我所考虑的是:在观念与新锐齐飞,行为共装置一色的摄影国里,两位久负盛名的摄影家对着这么一个“土题材”郑重PK,意义何在?这场“简单”的“友谊比赛”,是一较二人之短长,还是能够突破摄影个体竞争的局限,进入到更为广阔的空间里成为更有意义的话题?


      摄影家PK这种形式,是《中国摄影家》杂志发起、推动并实践的一项具有创新性的活动。它的积极意义在于:在同题设置下,以呈现摄影家完整的思维、体验与拍摄过程,对比不同个体影像表现的差异,以获得兼具针对性和普遍性的摄影实践成果和第一手的学术研究标本。虽然摄影终究是一门注重结果的艺术,但此时过程的录入,梳理了影像的发生机制和因果关系,“知其然,亦知其所以然”的意义在于更加准确、深入地理解摄影的结果,并以此出发建立摄影内在的逻辑体系。所谓“不比不知道”,摄影家的自我省察和相互审视,在PK的过程中,虽然以具体的照片为参照物,却是以抽象的思维为坐标系,最终目的是在不知不觉中完成解剖学意义上的样本研究。同时,加上网络时代的传播与互动,其本身也成为各种摄影观念PK的平台和载体,成为当下发生的一个引人关注的事件。可以说,这是《中国摄影家》策划、组织得非常成功的一个活动。


      但必须注意到的是:PK(PlayerKilling)一词发源于MUD游戏,原指高级玩家杀死低级玩家,后引申发展为“对决”等含义,并且用法更加广泛。所以,PK又是一场先导性和目的性很强的议程;因此,个体在PK中呈现出的状态,也许不是其真实的全部,多少会有一些偶然性。如果落脚到对摄影家的个体研究,PK可以作为一件有代表性的论据,但不能取代摄影家更为本色、系统和持续性的表现。


      同时,这也是一个到处都在PK的社会,人们甚至寄望通过PK不留余地地改变自己。所以,“摄影家PK”在本文开头的时代背景下更显得含义耐人寻味,这已然不仅仅是一种摄影现象,完全可以在社会学与文化学中得到更多重的解读。《中国摄影家》杂志的PK已进行了三年之久,总体而言,PK双方大都属于同量级、同类型的摄影家;PK选题大都倾向于人文地理民俗纪实一路;PK结果也就基本属于在同一种影像表现形态领域内的同质化比较。是否应该选取差异化更大的摄影家来PK?选题设置是否应该更具备开放性?甚至抽象化?风格、语言、手段甚至在年龄、性别、气质上都截然不同的摄影家来PK同一个选题,也许更能显现当代摄影生态的真实与丰富,从而更有利于逼近摄影的核心问题。而这一过程,实际上也是沿着“摄影是与当下结合最紧密的艺术表现形式”的道路,从另一个侧面反映当下的社会现实与文化风向。


      具体到蔡焕松与久保田博二的摄影PK,我以为:这两位都是传统气质的摄影家,他们所采用的都是经典图式,与源远流长、内容丰富、包孕着一个族群文化、生命密码的潮汕民俗进行对接、互文,本身就是一个绝好的例证,它证明在以后现代性为表征的视觉文化中,推崇人道主义和理性主义、具备人文情怀的现代性是如何无法完全摒弃的。民俗文化是依附于人的生活、习惯、情感与信仰而产生的文化,它有很强的集体性,集体遵从,反复演示,不断实行,这是民俗得以形成的核心要素。正是民俗培育了社会的一致性,增强了民族的认同,强化了民族精神,塑造了民族品格。而以此为对象的摄影,即便只是一次为期十天的短期活动,其主旨也是要体现潮汕民俗与潮汕人之间的相互培育,以及不可复制与替代的鲜明特色。也就是说,摄影在这里,决不仅是一场个人活动,而是要为更多的人完成一次观看。从他们的照片看,这样一个饱含历史韵味与现实生动的题材,在两位深具人文气质的摄影家手中,显然得到了极大的尊重和细致入微的体察。这是两位摄影家不约而同的本能反应,也是这一代以关注世界变化与人类命运为己任的摄影家,以具体实践对摄影的自觉、摄影的功能、摄影的本体等问题做出的共同回答。显然,这与以关注自我内心与主观意识为取向的摄影家是很不相同的。


      在共同情怀之下,两位摄影家的作品中存在任何差异,都是理所当然的,甚至是必须的。谚语有云:世界上没有长得完全一样的两片树叶,遑论天生就个性的摄影?简言之,蔡本身即是汕头人,广东摄影宿将;广东,先以沙龙画意领全国潮流,近以兼容并包纪实观念新锐为所长;久保田则为世界最著名的报道摄影团体--玛格南图片社唯一一位日本籍摄影师,长年关注古老、动荡而多变的亚洲,包括中国。因此,概括地说,蔡焕松的影像重在抒情,浓郁的情感是他这组照片最大的特点,他强调动感、色彩、气势,都是为传情服务。看得出许多照片他是蹲下来拍的,这个下意识的视角选择亦可谓“真情流露”--采用不高于拍摄对象的(低于或平视)的机位,因为仰角本身就是一种情感性视角。所以他的潮汕民俗具有强烈的感染力。另外,广东摄影的历史演变也体现在蔡焕松身上。他着意吸取了部分快照美学的元素,以在均衡、绚丽的美感中获得真实、自然、亲切的效果。民俗是活生生的,是一方水土养育的生活,不是印在明信片上僵硬做作的人造景观。蔡焕松显然深知这一点。


      而久保田博二的照片则重在表现关系,是典型的以画面中诸种关系的构成来叙述、表现对象的照片,几乎每一张照片中都可以找到一组或几组相互照应的关系;摄影家也用光线的明暗对比去制造一些关系。因此,久保田多用俯角拍摄,俯角本身是一种观察性视角,所以他的潮汕民俗的确就是一部好看的文化纪录片。这显然是玛格南的风格,但久保田也加入了自己的东西。我注意到他拍了一些器物的特写。这是他作为职业报道摄影师的敏感。潮汕民俗,一言蔽之,就是“精”,最直观的表现就是器物的精美与精致,潮汕的刺绣、雕刻、建筑、饮食等无一不精。这些来自于民间的精品吸引了久保田的眼光。因为:“装饰物是不可能冷漠存在的,装饰物的每一种形式都表现着某种世界观”--久保田在这些“物”的身上感受到了“人”的心性。可惜的是,他拍到了,但或许因为时间关系,没来得及形成系统的思路。本来,简单二元分之,世界无非“人”与“物”。这组作品就可以这样两条线索交织而成:用一种极具质感的镜头语言去表现器物的华丽与丰富,然后静态的“物”与另一条线索--动态的“人”之间形成呼应、对比、反差,共同完成对主题的表现与阐释。


      略微有些遗憾的是,两位摄影家都着力表现了潮汕民俗的美好与生机,对它在当代物质消费社会中所必然承受的压力与窘迫虽有所触及,但只是一笔带过了。


      人的观照是一个积极的活动过程,其中,所观照对象并不是简单而消极地作为单个事物视觉魅力的一种流溢而存在的。寻求简明秩序,使视野清晰的倾向,是人的观照活动所固有的。对可见对象完善化的提纯和加工,实际上是要与人类视觉的自然倾向达到圆满的统一。这虽然是古典主义艺术的不二法则,对于今时今日的摄影与视觉文化,仍然有着重要的意义。因为它揭示了人类视觉的基本取向。


      所以,这场摄影PK,在种种“同”与“不同”之后,最终要回答的问题,还是与视觉的基本取向紧密相关:摄影是如何将对象完善化的?又是如何将摄影家的个体完善化体验转化为人类的共同体验、并成为人类的共同观看?在这种转化过程中,摄影可能不仅只作为一种手段、一种语言、一种功能来帮助人们实现这种转化,它本身也会作为经验、文化与历史的一部分留存下来,成为借鉴与批判的对象。


      如是,则两位摄影家善莫大焉。


    From Personal Experience to Common Observation


    By Li Nan


    In recent years, the study of folklore has a trendy name: Intangible Cultural Heritage.  How catchy is this name?  You only need to look at the doors of the relevant academic institutions replaced one after another, using ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage” as prefixes and suffixes, then you know that once it is “inherited”, what a glorious thing it is!


    All one can say is that some folklore scholars really lack confidence.  It is because they have no self confidence that they use fashionable rhetoric to stiffen their backbones.  What is exposed behind this lack of self-confidence is a psychological contradiction of today’s society: complex, changeable, diversified patterns and the trends have caused the change and replacement of the cultural center point and speech. Elite and common, mainstream and peripheral, even if they are not completely subverted, at least they are very different from the past.  Where to?  It seems that we have a dilemma.  This ambivalence of lacking self-confidence and being conceited at the same time is by no means unique among the study of folklore, and it fills the air.  The cultural circle, artistic circle, and even the most popular photographic circles seem to have has their eyes “blurred.”  In the present age of whole cultural “visual changes of direction”, photography, as a major as well as important means of the visual, in a sense, is quite similar to folklore performance: under the increasingly focused spotlight, the self is ironically blurred the enthusiastic summons for photographic studies these years can be understood as the theorists are willing to touch upon the real problems.  But this actually reflects an ideological and mental loss and confusion when one gets lost, he would anxiously look for his compass.


    Under such a background, when the photographic works of PK on questions of Chaoshan’ folklore taken by Cai Huan-song and Japanese photographer Hiroji Kubota were laid before me, all I could think was: in this photographic world where concepts and the avant-garde fly side-by-side, when two prestigious photographers called out a PK so seriously on such an “earthy theme,” what is the meaning to this?  Is this “simple,” “friendly competition” a match to decide who is better, or can this break through the limitations of individual competition of photography, and enter into a more meaningful topic in a broader space?


    The photographer PK is an innovative activity which was originated and promoted by Chinese Photographer magazine.  Its positive meaning is: under the settings of the same topic, with each photographer’s whole thinking, experience and shooting process, compare the difference of individual image performance, and obtain both targeted and universal practical results of photography and first-hand academic research specimens.  Although photography is after all a result-oriented art, recording the process of this time has cleared the mechanism of image and causal relationship.  The meaning of “knowing the hows and the whys” is to understand more accurately and thoroughly the result of photography, and based on this, to establish photography’s inherent logic system.  The idea that “one does not know if one does not compare” is reflected here: the photographers’ self-introspection and examination of each other during the process of PK, although using the specific photos as reference, is really using abstract thinking as a coordinate system, with the ultimate goal of unknowingly completing the sample study anatomically.  Meanwhile, with the dissemination and interaction of the Internet era, the PK itself has become a platform and carrier of various photographic concepts as well as an attention-attracting event of today.  It can be said that this is an extremely successful activity that is planned and organized by Chinese Photographer.


    There is something that we must pay attention to: The word PK (Player Killing) originated from a video game called MUD, which originally referred to high-level players kill low-level players.  Later on it extended its meaning to “duel” and some other more extensive usages.  Therefore, PK has a strong agenda of precursor and purpose; the state in which an individual is shown may not be an accurate picture of the whole person, and there is something fortuitousness in this.  As for photographer’s individual research, PK can be used as a representative of the arguments, but it cannot replace a photographer’s true character, their systematic and sustained performance.  


    Meanwhile, this is also a society that is full of PK’s, and people make every effort, even hoping to change themselves through PK.  So, a “photographer PK”, in the historical background stated at the beginning of this article, seems more thought-provoking. This is already more than just a photographic phenomenon, and there should be more and deeper reading in sociology and culture studies.  The PK of Chinese Photographer has been carried out for three years, and over all, the competitors in PK are mostly of the same level and the same type of photographers; the PK topics mostly tend to favor the humanities, geography, folklore and documentary; the PK results also basically belong in the homogenized comparison within the identical field of phantom performance.  Should more different types of photographers be selected for PK?  Should the settings of topics be more open or even more abstract?  If the photographers who are totally different in styles, languages, methods, even ages, gender and temperament engage in PK on the same topics, perhaps this would show a truer and richer contemporary photographic ecology, and thus it draws closer to the core issue of photography. This process, in fact, is in line with the idea that “photography is allied closely to the form of artistic expression, and from another perspective, it reflects today’s social reality and cultural trends.


    As for the photographic PK between Cai Huan-song and Hiroji Kubota, my thought is: both of them are traditional temperament photographers, and use classic schemes to connect and exchange culture with the Chaoshan folklore, that is with a long history, rich in content and containing ethnic culture and the codes of life.  This is proof positive that inside the visual culture of modernity as an attribute from here on has the greatest esteem for humanism and rationalism, and the possession of human emotions cannot be completely abandoned.  Folklore culture attaches itself to people’s lives, habits, emotions and beliefs in order to be created.  It requires a strong sense of communalism; collective compliance, repetitive demonstration and continuous implementation are the core elements for it to form.  It is the folklore that has cultivated consistency in society, enhanced national approval, strengthened national spirits and molded the national character.    


    The main purpose of photography, using this as its subject, even if it is just a short ten-day long activity, is to reflect the on the inimitable and irreplaceably distinctive characteristics of mutual cultivation between the Chaoshan folklore and Chaoshan people.  In other words, photography here is never a personal activity, but a performance for many people.  Looking at their pictures, this activity, full of historic charm, realistic and vivid themes, in the hands of these two photographers filled with profound humanistic qualities, has clearly received great respect and detailed observation.  This is their spontaneous instinctive reaction, and it is also this generation of photographers, who focus their attention on changes in the world and regard the destiny of mankind as their own task, their common answer to the consciousness of photography, the function of photography, and the ontology of photography with their concrete practice.  Obviously, this is very different from those photographers who focus on their own inner self and subjectively oriented awareness. 


    Under the common feelings, any differences among these two photographers’ works are natural or even necessary.  As the proverb goes, there are no two exact leaves in the world, not to mention inherently personalized photography. In short, Cai is from Shantou, a Guangdong photography veteran.  Guangdong, first leads the national trend with its Sharon painting, and recently with its cutting-edge concept of inclusive documentaries.  On the other hand, Kubota, the only Japanese photographer who works for Magnum Photos, the world’s most famous report photography association, has been closely watching the turbulent and changing Asia, including China, for a long time.  Thus, in a nutshell, Cai Huan-song’s images focus on lyrical and rich emotions, which are the biggest characteristics of this group of photos.  He emphasizes dynamic, color and imposing matter, which all serve the purpose of transmitting the emotions.  It appears that many pictures were taken by squatting down, and this subconsciously chosen angle of view is truly “true feeling being revealed.” —— using the position that is no higher than the subject (lower or at eye level), because elevation itself is an emotional perspective.  This is why his Chaoshan folklore has strong appeal.  In addition, the historical evolution of Guangdong photography is also reflected in Cai Huan-song.  He deliberately absorbs part of the snapshot’s aesthetic elements, and obtains the true, natural and cordial effect in the balanced and brilliant beauty.  Folklore is a living thing; it is raised by local water and soil.  It is not stiff, artificially made scenery.  Cai Huan-song obviously knows it. 


    Hiroji Kubota’s pictures focus on expression relationships; they are typical photographs using the constitution of various kinds of relations in the pictures to depict and display the subject, and in almost every photo we can find one group or several groups exhibiting this relationship.  Photographers also use the chiaroscuro of light to create relationships.  Kubota uses mostly the angle of depression photography.  The angle of depression itself is an observational perspective, so his Chaoshan folklore is indeed a very good cultural documentary.  This is obviously the Magnum style, but Kubota has also added in some of his own.  I noticed that he shot some close-ups of artifacts.  This is his sensitivity as a professional report photographer.  Chaoshan folklore, in a nutshell, is “essence;” the most intuitive expression is the exquisite and delicate of the artifacts.  Chaoshan’s embroidery, sculpture, architecture, cuisine, etc., are no exceptions.  These high quality goods from boutiques in the private sector attracted the vision of Kubota.  This is because “ornaments cannot exist indifferently, and every form of an ornament expresses a certain outlook on the world,” —— from these “objects”, Kubota feels a “human’s” disposition.  Unfortunately, perhaps due to the lack of time, he photographed a thought that had not yet formed a system.  Originally, the world is nothing more than “people” and “objects.”  This group of works is like two interwoven clues; it uses a highly textured lens language to express the gorgeousness and richness of the artifacts, and then, between the static “object” and the other clue which is the dynamic “human,” forms an echo, comparison and contrast, and together they complete the expression and interpretation of the theme. 


    A little unfortunately, the two photographers focused their attention on expressing the beauty and vitality of the Chaoshan folklore, while only slightly and superficially touching on the necessity of withstanding pressure and poverty in today’s consumer society. 


    The observation of humans is an active process; the object of observation does not exist simply as a spilling over of a single passive visual attraction.  Seeking a concise order to make the vision clear is inherent in human observation.  To improve purification and processing, visible objects actually need to reach satisfactory unification with the natural tendency of human vision.  Although this is the single principle of classical art, it still has an important significance for today’s photography and visual culture, because it reveals the basic orientation of human vision. 


    Therefore, the question that eventually must be answered by this photography PK after, various “likenesses” and “differences,” is still closely related to this basic orientation: how does photography finalize the object?  And how is the finalized experience of an individual transformed into common observation of mankind? In this transformation process, photography perhaps is used not only as a tool, a language or a feature to help people achieve such a transformation; it also survives as a part of the experience, culture and history, and becomes the object of reference and critique. 


    If so, then this is the best thing for the two photographers.

     
    (新闻来源:艺术家提供)