Tuesday, July 21, 2009

After Polaroid, Keeping Instant Photography Alive

When the Polaroid film factory in the Dutch town of Enschede shut down in June 2008, it seemed to signal the end for one of the most ingenious and iconic innovations of the 20th century. Almost 60 years after American inventor Edwin H. Land sold the first Model 95 of his new instant-picture camera in Boston in November 1948, the troubled Polaroid Corp. halted its cassette-film production for good. Demand was still relatively high — the plant churned out 30 million cassettes in 2007 and 24 million in the first half of 2008 — but the plant had run out of its allocated amount of the chemical components needed to make its famous instant film, and Polaroid's decision to move to digital meant there was no point in ordering more. The film stocks will last a little while longer. When they run out, though, the Polaroid camera — once the world's most popular, with about 1 billion sold — could be history.

But two men attending the factory's closing ceremony had other ideas. Florian Kaps, an Austrian entrepreneur and Polaroid enthusiast, and André Bosman, until then the engineering manager of the Enschede plant, met by chance on that fateful day. Together they decided to find a way to bring instant photography back to life. (See "Who We Were: America in Snapshots.")

"We quickly agreed that there was a great market opportunity for a new instant film," remembers Kaps, who switched tracks after getting a biology Ph.D. to enter the retro-photography business. First he worked as an executive with the Lomographical Society, founded in Vienna in 1992 to celebrate the Russian Lomo camera, a very basic snapper that conquered some bohemian corners of the West after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Then, four years ago, Kaps fell in love with Polaroid and founded a company specializing in selling equipment for analog instant photography. An official partner of Polaroid, the company still operates via the website Polapremium.com, where enthusiasts can buy the camera, related equipment and some of the remaining film stock. (See pictures of historical photos on Google Earth.)

In October 2008, Kaps, 39, and Bosman, 55, took $2.6 million in private capital and started what they endearingly called the Impossible Project, with a view to reinventing the traditional Polaroid film. They founded a company named Impossible, leased a small building on the site of the closed Enschede plant, secured some key production machinery and hired nine former Polaroid employees to come up with new formulas for both a monochrome and a color version of the instant film. The new films would have unique characteristics but still maintain some of the best bits of Polaroid, like the square shape, the white frame and that familiar warm chemical smell. Since then, the impossible has become the highly likely. "Two weeks ago, we cleared the last of about five major road blocks," Kaps tells TIME. "We have now proven that it is possible."

Still in the experimental stage, Impossible's instant pictures have a look that's reminiscent of the early days of photography, "but this will be part of their charm," says Kaps. While the company is still in negotiations with Polaroid over the use of the Polaroid name, it has been given permission to make film that will work in Polaroid cameras. The trial monochrome version of the film will go into production at the end of October and, if all goes according to plan, should be available to the masses in time for Christmas, "before people start to throw away their old Polaroid cameras," says Kaps. In 2010, when the color version should hit the shelves, Impossible hopes to sell 1 million new films, with prices likely to range from $23 to $28 for a 10-shot cassette. The company predicts worldwide demand will eventually reach up to 10 million films a year. (See pictures by the acclaimed Richard Avedon.)

Building on his growing empire — Kaps also runs Polanoid.net, the Web's biggest Polaroid community, and the Polanoir gallery Polanoir.com in Vienna — Kaps is hoping a new instant camera will go on the market in 2010, to be built by a partner company (he won't reveal which just yet). "It will be high quality rather than a mass product, with a good lens and manual focusing," he says.

Despite the dominance of digital, Kaps sees a bright future for old-fashioned photography. "More and more people are rediscovering the fascination of Polaroid," he says. "They are seeking the analog adventure. Just opening a film packet — the smell alone has something sensual to it. And the pictures have a certain worth, unlike digital images, where one takes 10,000 pictures of the same event."

And it seems there's still a market for instant pictures. "Polaroid cameras and film were becoming more and more popular with our customers, and we were disappointed when we found out last year that Polaroid was to cease manufacturing film," says John Buckle, bookshop manager at the Photographers' Gallery in London. "People like the look and feel of Polaroid analog photography. They have a retro look with lovely colors compared with the often bland look of digital photography. [Instant pictures are] also sociable, allowing for the sharing of a real photograph rather than just a small image on a screen." (See pictures of Barack Obama on Flickr.)

So far, the Impossible Project has been greeted with enthusiasm from Polaroid fans, art photographers and the international media. "It has been unbelievable," Kaps says of the response. "If we are successful, then this has wider implications. We are no art project, not a venture of some madmen — we want to be a thriving business for at least 10 years." Which should give instant-photography lovers plenty to smile about.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

熱血膠卷Flickr 友

在《信報》寫〈人間定格〉的日子不算長,但經常收到讀者的電郵,大部分是《信報》的忠實讀者,而且多是香港的專業人士。專業人士與攝影並沒有任何衝突,相反愛好攝影的專業人士其實為數頗多。

大 部分愛好攝影的專業人士,相對地較少分享作品,多是私下珍藏及欣賞。司馬十一幾經尋訪,才在一個國際相片分享網站找到來自香港的攝影朋友,經過幾次相約會 面後,終於發現,原來大部分也是專業人士,有來自金融界、廣告界,甚至醫務人員等等。以推動香港攝影為己任,把不同攝影師介紹給讀者,正是我的原動力。我 在相片分享網站 Flickr 找到一群紮根香港的攝影人,所以這次攝影對談,其實好比與相識已久的老朋友聊天。

Flickr 網站的香港網友其實不算多,至少較內地網友為少,不過香港 Flickr 網友卻明顯有共同嗜好。其中最顯著的是以拍攝「人文紀實」為主,而非台灣或新加坡網友般多拍攝人像。「人文紀實」這個攝影詞語,似乎亦是香港 Flickr 網友的另一種代名詞。雖然數碼相機已經是主流,不過香港 Flickr 網友縱使有數碼相機,但同時又愛用膠卷相機拍攝。只要細心觀察,他們使用的攝影器材由傳統的135相機,至片幅120,甚至4×5到8×10大片幅相機, 均有人使用,我稱之為「熱血膠卷」分子。經過了解,香港 Flickr 網友原來也經常相約外出攝影,熟絡的有二十多人,而經常聚會的也有十多人,當中不乏專業人士。以下只是部分香港 Flickr 網友的介紹,日後我會繼續尋訪其他網友。

Van Yuen(銀行界)

由2000年開始攝影,由數碼相機開始,2002年開始使用膠卷相片,由 Contax T3 開始,繼而接觸 Leica M6 TTL,常用的相機還有 Kiev 88cm 及 Rolleiflex 2.8E2 等。

司馬 你喜歡拍攝什麼?有何難忘經驗?

Van Yuen 我每日都有照相機在身,每周都會抽時間拍攝,當然我以拍攝人文紀實為主,所以經常在香港的不同地區出沒。

最難忘的事應該是有一次在長沙灣拍攝時,被一位老伯從對面街跑過來罵我,但我拍攝的對象其實並不是他。

Man Wu(會計界)

影齡有八、九年,同樣由玩數碼相機開始,後轉學膠卷,目前集中拍攝膠卷為主。經常傍身的相機有 Leica MP、Hasselblad 500cm、Hasselblad SWC 及 Rolleiflex 2.8。

司馬 你又喜歡拍攝什麼呢?

Man Wu 同樣是以「街拍」為主,但隨着影齡的增長,拍攝經驗告訴我們什麼時候可以拍,什麼時候不能拍,所以在「街拍」的過程中,觀察被拍攝人物的反應是最為重要的。

個人認為街拍中,最重要的並非攝影器材及技術,而是「觸覺」!

Paul Swee(廣告界)

作為馬來西亞裔華人,在港居住已經達七年之久,所以我早已視他為「香港人」,在馬來西亞曾從事專業攝影師工作,來港後加入廣告界,由1990年開始攝影,以拍攝膠卷為主。

司馬 在香港拍攝與其他地方有何不同呢?

Paul 香港與東南亞國家有很大程度的差別,香港較為開放,亦可以說在攝影的創作上甚自由,想拍攝的場面,早已充斥在我們的生活中。

當初是香港的特殊環境吸引我,其後發現原來生活中的藝術,使我好想用相機記錄下來。最難忘的事當然是在灣仔天橋底拍攝癮君子作毒品交易,然後被癮君子狂追的情景(當然他是跑不過我的……)。

Sarah Li(國際學校教師)

自小在加拿大長大的華人,目前在深圳某國際學校任英語教師,經常趁假日來香港拍攝,最喜愛拍攝香港的舊區面貌。2003年開始攝影,亦是少數拍攝黑白膠卷兼自行沖洗膠卷的女攝影愛好者。

Sarah 坦言喜歡使用簡單而傳統的膠卷照相機,沖曬的樂趣使攝影得以延續。難忘的經驗是早期沖曬時錯漏百出,令作品前功盡廢。

Jack Tong(IT界)

在朋友的介紹下認識國際化相片分享網站 Flickr,影齡只有兩年,但已經深陷攝影發燒友的境界,通常使用 Leica M7 及 M3,亦使用中片幅 Hasselblad 500cm。

經常與香港 Flickr 影友聚會,仍在學習「街拍」中,以往只是喜歡拍攝而較少上載至網站分享,現在積極自行沖洗膠卷及上載相片到網站。

難忘的事在大澳街拍時被老婆婆大罵!

Thomas Mui(牙醫)

2000年開始攝影,半年前開始接觸有關網站,從而認識不少同樣熱愛攝影的朋友。目前擁有 Leica MP 及 Rolleiflex 2.8F。

平時都帶着相機在身,雖然沒有固定的拍攝風格,但開始迷上「街拍」。因為街拍時往往會遇到難忘的經驗,有次在元朗拍攝某位拉二胡的老人家,其後再把照片送回,並建立了友誼,所以街拍並不一定會令人討厭及被責罵,有時亦交到朋友。

後記 香港 Flickr 網友走在一起時,雖然並非熟絡,但大家分享照片的同時,其實早已不陌生,故此大家在欣賞對方作品的同時,亦學懂分享各自的拍攝經驗。其實這群人根本不是什 麼團體亦沒有組織,只是從虛擬的網上世界,走到現實人間,在共同興趣維繫下走在一起,各自放下專業工作的時候,拿起相機,變成了一班志同道合的攝影人。

文 司馬十一

shimathecat@gmail.com

司馬十一,出身於媒體,投筆下海後從事金融界十多年,近期鍾情大片幅人像攝影。被訪者造像均由 4x5大片幅相機所拍攝。

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pret-a-Porter Afrikan

Barthes ' Camera Lucida - Exerpts

Excerpts from Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes

KOEN WESSING: NICARAGUA" 1979 "I understood at once that this photograph's 'adventure' derived from the co-presence of two elements... "

I was glancing through an illustrated magazine. A photograph made me pause. Nothing very extraordinary: the (photographic) banality of a rebellion in Nicaragua: a ruined street, two helmeted soldiers on patrol; behind them, two nuns. Did this photograph please me? Interest me? Intrigue me? Not even. Simply, it existed (for me). I understood at once that its existence (its "adventure") derived from the co-presence of two discontinuous elements, heterogeneous in that they did not belong to the same world (no need to proceed to the point of contrast): the soldiers and the nuns. I foresaw a structural rule (conforming to my own observation), and I immediately tried to verify it by inspecting other photographs by the same reporter (the Dutchman Koen Wessing): many of them attracted me because they included this kind of duality which I had just become aware of. Here a mother and daughter sob over the father's arrest (Baudelaire: "the emphatic truth of gesture in the great circumstances of
life"), and this happens out in the countryside (where could they have learned the news? for whom are these gestures?). Here, on a torn-up pavement, a child's corpse under a white sheet; parents and friends stand around it, desolate: a banal enough scene, unfortunately, but I noted certain interferences: the corpse's one bare foot, the sheet carried by the weeping mother (why this sheet?), a woman in the background, probably a friend, holding a handkerchief to her nose. Here again, in a bombed-out apartment, the huge eyes of two little boys, one's shirt raised over his little belly (the excess of those eyes disturb the scene). And here, finally, leaning against the wall of a house, three Sandinists, the lower part of their faces covered by a rag (stench? secrecy? I have no idea, knowing nothing of the realities of guerrilla warfare); one of them holds a gun that rests on his thigh (I can see his nails); but his other hand is stretched out, open, as if he were explaining and demonstrating something. My rule applied all the more closely in that other pictures from the same reportage were less interesting to me; they were fine shots, they expressed the dignity and horror of rebellion, but in my eyes they bore no mark or sign: their homogeneity remained cultural: they were "scenes," rather a Za Greuze, had it not been for the harshness of the subject. My rule was plausible enough for me to try to name (as I would need to do) these two elements whose co-presence established, it seemed, the particular interest I took in these photographs. The first, obviously, is an extent, it has the extension of a field, which I perceive quite familiarly as a consequence of my knowledge, my culture; this field can be more or less stylized, more or less successful, depending on the photographer's skill or luck, but it always refers to a classical body of information: rebellion, Nicaragua, and all the signs of both: wretched un-uniformed soldiers, ruined streets, corpses, grief, the sun, and the heavy-lidded Indian eyes. Thousands of photographs consist of this field, and in these photographs I can, of course, take a kind of general interest, one that is even stirred sometimes, but in regard to them my emotion requires the rational intermediary of an ethical and political culture. What I feel. about these photographs derives from an average affect" almost from a certain training. I did not know a French word which might account for this kind of human interest, but I believe this word exists in Latin: it is studium, which doesn't mean, at least not immediately, "study," but application to a thing, taste for someone, a kind of general, enthusiastic commitment, of course, but without special acuity. It is by studium that I am interested in so many photographs, whether I receive them as political testimony or enjoy them as good historical scenes: for it is culturally (this connotation is present in studium) that I participate in the figures, the faces, the gestures, the settings, the actions. The second element will break (or punctuate) the studium. This time it is not I who seek it out (as I invest the field of the studium with my sovereign consciousness) , it is this element which rises from the scene, shoots out of it like an arrow, and pierces me. A Latin word exists to designate this wound, this prick, this mark made by a pointed instrument: the word suits me all the better in that it also refers to the notion of punctuation, and becaus;e the photographs I am speaking of are in effect punctuated, sometimes even speckled with these sensitive points; precisely, these marks, these wounds are so many points. This second element which will disturb the studium I shall therefore call punctum; for punctum is also: sting, speck, cut, little hole - and also a cast of the dice. A photograph's punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me) . Having thus distinguished two themes in Photography (for in general the
photographs I liked were constructed in the manner of a classical sonata), I could occupy myself with one after the other. Many photographs are, alas, inert under my gaze. But even among those which have some existence in my eyes, most provoke only a general and, so to speak, polite interest: they have no punctum in them: they please or displease me without pricking me: they are invested with no more than studium. The studium is that very wide field of unconcerned desire, of various interest, of inconsequential taste: I like / I don't like. The studium is of the order of liking, not of loving; it mobilizes a half desire, a demi-volition; it is the same sort of vague, slippery, irresponsible interest one takes in the people, the entertainments, the books, the clothes one finds "all right." To recognize the studium is inevitably to encounter the photographer's intentions, to enter into harmony with [them].

KOEN WESSING: NICARAGUA, I979 “…the sheet carried by the weeping mother (why this sheet?)..."
At the time (at the beginning of this book) when I was inquiring into my attachment to certain photographs, I thought I could distinguish a field of cultural interest (the studium) from that unexpected flash which sometimes crosses this field and which I called the punctum*.
[*punctum: personal significance for a ‘reader’ unintended by the ‘author’. GB]
I now know that there exists another punctum (another "stigmatum") than the "detail." This new punctum, which is no longer of form but of intensity, is Time, the lacerating emphasis of the noeme ("that-has-been"), its pure representation. In 1865, young Lewis Payne tried to assassinate Secretary of State W. H. Seward. Alexander Gardner photographed him in his cell, where he was waiting to be hanged. The photograph is handsome, as is the boy: that is the studium. But the punctum is: he is going to die.

I read at the same time: This will be and this has been; I observe with horror an anterior future of which death is the stake. By giving me the absolute past of the pose (aorist), the photograph tells me death in the future. What pricks me is the discovery of this equivalence. In front of the photograph of my mother as a child, I tell myself: she is going to die: I shudder, like Winnicott's psychotic patient, over a catastrophe which has already occurred. Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe. This punctum, more or less blurred beneath the abundance and the disparity of contemporary photographs, is vividly legible in historical photographs: there is always a defeat of Time in them: that is dead and that is going to die. These two little girls looking at a primitive airplane above their village (they are dressed like my mother as a child, they are playing with hoops) ¬
-how alive they are! They have their whole lives before them; but also they are dead (today), they are then already dead (yesterday). At the limit, there is no need to represent a body in order for me to experience this vertigo of time defeated.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

『影像』Jackie Nickerson:前所未见的非洲之美

来自都市客 · 良品杂志 2009-04-10 09:05:24 查看原文
当非洲一词不经意间飘过你眼前,脑海中浮现出的是什么样的图像呢?乞力马扎罗山顶的白雪,草原上金色的百兽之王,还是瘦骨伶仃的儿童和老人?感谢媒体的神 通广大,竟能让我们对那片遥远的大陆能有如此丰富的了解。然而,第六感告诉我们,在这片人类诞生的古老大陆上,除了动乱和饥饿,也存在一种源自于人的宝贵 精神。幸得女摄影师Jackie Nickerson的一次非洲之旅,让我们看到一个前所未见的非洲。

她这组名为FARM的摄影作品,通过农场劳动者的写真,展示出人体之美、创造之美、自信之美。透过这些艰苦环境的劳动者,折射出一种存在已久而少为人知的 当代非洲精神。在城市里生活的我们,会很容易堕入各种命运设计好的圈套当中,被消极的情绪掩埋。然而,这些在非洲荒野里顽强生活的劳动者们,却通过对大自 然的深刻体验,利用环境,找到生存的意义。通过Jackie Nickerson的镜头,养尊处优的我们,是否也会想起一些失去的精神和感动呢?

Q:Jackie, 请你谈一谈自己的背景好吗?
A:我有15年的商业摄影经验,主要在时尚和广告领域。我在18岁的时候搬到纽约,做了5年助理工作,然后去了米兰,开始自立门户。

Q:FARM系列背后的动力是什么,你是怎样想出这个项目的?
A: 这组拍摄并没有事先计划,完全出自于我的个人经历。我在津巴布韦的一个朋友,家里有一个农场。我喜欢那里,但是对融入当地的社会生活仍然有一种束缚感。我 慢慢觉得生活太封闭,开始四处走动,和各种当地人交流。然后我买了一辆小卡车,开始了公路旅行,先后去到南非、马拉维和莫桑比克。几个月后,我决定开始一 些拍摄,重点是在工作环境里的人们。他们那种荒芜的劳动场所触动了我,并开始建立视觉语言来表现他们个人的特征。

Q:大量关于非洲的摄影都是着眼于贫穷和社会问题,但是在你的作品中却展示了人、土地、美感和对劳动的敬意。这是你带给大家对非洲的一个新视点吗?
A: 非洲总被一种负面的偏见所笼罩,而我的经历与之完全不同。一位莫桑比克的妇女曾说道:“如果你仅仅想告诉世界我们的贫穷,请不要在这里拍照,因为我们并未 感觉如此。”尽管工作和生活压力没有减轻,但他们却从未屈服于环境。更重要的是,他们拥有在西方社会已经失去的一种团体精神。他们明确了解自己是谁和从何 而来,对自我的认识带给他们强烈的表现和自信。我认为西方社会对于农业工作者的怜悯只是自己的一种傲慢。而事实上,农业工作者的团体活动能力非常强,是值 得受到尊敬的人群。

Q:在农场里工作的人们对你的作品有什么想法吗? 你在工作中是如何与他们交流的?
A: 很幸运,大部分非洲南部国家都用英语作为官方语言,所以交流完全没有问题。我开车四处转悠,在有趣的地方停下来并上去搭话,看是否可以进行拍摄。通常第一 次见面时,注意力都集中在交谈上。他们都是和你我一样的普通人。常有的想法就是“人挺好,这人真逗。”我的反应是由遇见的人决定的,大多数在外面遇到的人 都很友善,对我是谁感到好奇。经常被问到的就是“ 你从哪儿?来你是政府人员吗?是不是记者啊? 这些照片会用到什么地方,报纸上吗?”

Q:西方世界的观众对你的工作反应如何?
A: 有大量的正面反应,也有少数针对南非政治因素的批判。但在作品中我只想集中表现真实的个人,从一个不同的角度来看待普通的非洲居民。引用Edward K. Owusu-Ansah的原话就是“Nickerson带给我们对这些人物的注目,是为了崇拜和怜惜 ,而不是怜悯。”

Q:在这组照片里,人物的身体本身以及人物用废品材料制作的功能性服装的结合非常有震撼力量,胜过很多设计大师的作品,能具体说说那些衣服给你的感受吗?
A: 当你在农场附近走动时,并不会马上发现外貌和衣着打扮上很显眼的人,在路上的人多是穿着衬衣、短袖和牛仔裤。但是进到地里,一段时间后,你就会注意到一些 特别的人。他们看起来很贫困,实际上都是有工作的劳动者。这些奇特的衣着完全是为了对应工作环境而制作的。由于他们没有专门的工作服,只能用手里有限的原 材料自己动手加工。他们循环利用农场里的所有废料,只要是能用于保护自己的东西,包括包装材料、食品容器、麻布口袋、背篓,没有任何浪费。照片里的所有服 装都是由穿着他们的人亲手缝制的。每一件都是原创和对应工作的,而且的确是充满着原创性和美感的。

Q:FARM的系列照片也吸引了不少时装设计师,在拍摄的时候你有刻意表现这些衣着的功用性吗?
A_ 在开始拍摄的时候,我意识到建立必要的视觉语言来突出农业工人同时亦是现代人的地位。通常媒体对非洲和现代非洲人的报道都是负面的,我想观众从另一个角度看到非洲文化,并接触到其中的美感。他们给自己缝制的衣物不仅实用,而且有独特的亮丽,来自完全的原创。

Q:你对时尚感兴趣吗?是怎样看待日常穿着和时装的关系呢?
A: 不管你是在上海、伦敦、东京,还是这个星球上任何地方,总有注重穿着和对其不以为然的两种人。时装设计是一种艺术,充满了幻想和美丽。如果你是从美学而不 是地位的观点来看待它们,那么每个人都可以欣赏的。当然不是任何人都适合穿它,我认为穿着最好是觉得舒适,有助于增强自己正面印象的东西,由此展现真实的 自我。

Q:作为女性摄影师,你是怎样克服工作中的一些困难呢?
A:这倒没有想过太多。虽然是一人旅行,并没碰到过真正棘手的事。通常和一群人开始接触时,我会先和女性接近和交谈,而且你必须得尊重当
地的风俗文化。我觉得女性的身份倒是一件好事情。

Q:如果用一个词来形容非洲,那是什么?
A:杰出 。

『新视线』 摄影 Jackie Nickerson 撰文 Jeuce

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

蹊径与大道:网络时代的新新闻摄影

文:廖伟棠

自从数码摄影和网络传播时代的来临,“影像泛滥”已经成为一句文化批评者的口头禅,这不需要动用鲍德里亚或苏珊.桑塔格的理论来辩证了,只需看看最近的新闻便可知道事态已经发展到什么境地,根据中国日报网的报道:

120日,数百万人通过大型网络留言板(如Twitter)或交友平台(如Facebook)交流他们对奥巴马就职典礼的感受。在网络相册(Flickr)上,网民自发上传的有关就职仪式的图片达数万张。另有数千段视频被上载到视频门户(YouTube)上。CNN与微软合作推出了一项图片合成服务。网民从现场传回的图片,可以在CNN网站上合成立体图。Facebook表示,在奥巴马就职典礼的高潮阶段,每分钟就有超过4000人在该网与CNN合作的平台留言。”

因 此,一直有人扬言“全民皆摄影记者”的时代已经到来,也的确有一些权威的纸上媒体大胆地采用一些没有摄影记者去到现场、只有现场民众用自己摄影器材拍摄到 的影像,新闻摄影记者一直依赖的在器材和通讯上的优势渐渐失去,摄影师的专业地位也渐渐动摇,摄影——或者说公众对公共事务的诠释权获得前所未有的普及, 这到底是一件好事还是一件坏事呢?

我想起的,是1826年, 摄影术刚刚发明之际,西方的画家们也都有过丧失话语权的害怕。传统写实绘画受到大众离弃,相对于镜像一般的摄影,绘画再写实也难比其“栩栩如真”,于是绘 画只好退出了为人民服务的舞台。但是塞翁失马,焉知非福?现代艺术就是这样被迫诞生的,不再追求肉眼所见的真实、原样复制的真实(这真实本来就值得怀 疑),转而追求内心主观的真实、抽象表现的真实,没有路正意味着万千条路可以走,从此天马行空,转向了更复杂和奇特的表达形式,让艺术的概念大大的丰富 了。传统摄影受到网络传播摄影的挑战,似也应作如是观。

当然,新闻摄影又是一个复杂的特例,它不可能天马行空到虚构事实的地步,不可能变成艺术摄影。但是“真实”这一个基本要求有时真是一把两刃剑,对现实事件的客观记录就是“真实”吗?苏珊.桑 塔格在《论摄影》中早已指出:“摄影师被看作是一个敏锐而又不参与的观察者——一个抄写员,而不是诗人。但是人们很快就发现他们面对同样的事物拍出来的照 片并不一样,那种对照相机提供的图像是非个人的、非主观的、服从于事实的臆断便土崩瓦解了。照片不仅是对事物所呈现的面目的证明,同时也是一种个人的观 看;不仅是一种记录,而且是对世界的一种评价。”

而 现在这些网络摄影师们的身份更加暧昧,他们往往就是事件的参与者本身,同时还成为了身边另一网络摄影师的被摄影对象。他们强调他们照片的“真实”且奉真实 为唯一标杆,但正当“真实影像”以数千数万倍的速度在网络上增长,并且以不设防的自由传播的时候,真实的面孔无比“逼真”,却因为过于靠近、拥有过多的阐 释者而渐渐模糊起来。本来新闻摄影在最近十多年已经在追求多和快上面贴近上述的误区,如果现在还要进一步依从这网络时代的游戏规则,则只会消亡得更快。

实际上,有一些优秀的摄影师早在影像泛滥时代来袭之前就做出了反思和选择。让我们把时间上推到一九六八年,那一年诞生了很多象征物,仅就“新闻写作”而言,被日后“新新闻主义”尊为经典的《夜幕下的大军》就是那年问世,诺曼.梅勒这部获普利策非小说大奖的著作书写现实的方法非常小说,因为使用小说技法去挖掘现实事件(此书写的是1967年美国的反战运动)更能贴近——或者说发明出时代之真实。但是不太为人知道的是,那一年也诞生了在新闻/纪实摄影上的一个转折性的范本:那就是约瑟夫.寇德卡拍摄“布拉格之春”的系列影像。

想到一九六八年的布拉格,我肯定大多数的摄影爱好者都会和我一样在脑海中闪现这么一个镜头:一只手臂突兀横越画面,手腕上的表停留在1202分,背景是空寂的街道。这是约瑟夫.寇德卡最为人知的一张照片,它的价值正正说明了影像概括时代意义的强有力。

去年是一九六八“布拉格之春”事件四十周年,一直以来,我们对这个当年震惊世界的侵略事件的所有形象认识就是寥寥几张寇德卡的照片,是当时三十岁的寇德卡冒险拍下然后偷运出国、隐名发表的。直到去年,也许就是为了纪念,Thames & Hudson出版社会同玛格南图片社出版了厚厚的一本《入侵布拉格:68》,收录了寇德卡当时未能发表的大量照片。

一九六八年15日,杜布切克当选捷共第一书记,布拉格之春运动开始。821日,苏联tank进入布拉格,布拉格之春告终。寇德卡的记录就从这时开始。

一 九六八年具有哲学意义(研究理想主义和新左派的蓬勃)、社会学意义(研究民众运动的激化)、文学意义(垮掉一代的文学影响达到顶峰)甚至音乐上的意义(迷 幻音乐大行其道),而通过重读寇德卡的摄影,我们还可以分辨出它的摄影意义,在报道摄影中摄影师的自我定位、影像与现实的互相介入、摄影者与被记录者的关 系等许多摄影哲学的问题,在这批照片中都有新的答案。

首 先我们看到一个被迫隐名的摄影师(实际上,在中国当代史也肯定不乏这样的摄影师),他在拍摄开始和进行的过程中已经清楚地意识到这些照片不可能在捷克公开 发表,也不可能在时局未变之前具名流传,这在理论上立马赋予了这些照片一种纯粹的意义:它们因此应该得以脱离摄影者的主观意志、成为客观现实的忠实重现 者。仿佛在新闻摄影和纪实摄影诞生直至六十年代,“客观”和“真实”就是它最渴求达到的终极目标,那么一个被迫摒弃了作者的摄影记录,是否能成为最客观的 记录呢?

理 论上可以,实际上却因为这极端的压抑而走向了反面,这是一个开拓性的反面。寇德卡毕竟是寇德卡,一个摄影师中的思想者。在入侵事件开始之初,寇德卡也像每 一个冲到前线的新闻摄影师一样,坚信“最接近的就是最好的影像”这一定理,他也因此拍出了许多在传统意义上杰出的新闻摄影,越来越逼近的人物在饱和的构图 中仿佛带着猛烈的心跳和急促的呼吸,甚至可以感觉到寇德卡亢奋的手指在快门按钮上颤抖。同时他又力求保持冷静,可以看得出他努力想通过镜头的选择来理解事 件的多方面构成:他在拍摄反抗入侵者的愤怒面孔同时,也拍下了一个苏联士兵弯腰擦去tank上被涂上的法西斯标志时屈辱的脸,也拍下了一个老太太对街上 youxing不理解并且担心平静生活被波及时痛苦的脸……这些都是一个事件的完整矛盾之呈现,一般新闻摄影师只会取其一,一个成熟的报道摄影者会纵览全 部。这里,已经出现了寇德卡这些影像从狭义的新闻摄影向广义的纪实摄影的第一步转化。

随 着事态急剧恶化,过于迫近的影像模糊起来,呈现出仿佛形而上意义的历史之幽灵的面貌,寇德卡在血腥面前经历了震痛,我们可以看到在主观意志的指导下他的镜 头马上具有了道德判断力,一面倒地倾向受难者,这是对新闻摄影的客观原则的第一次反思——当我们具有超越摄影师身份的公民普遍身份、成为受难者的一份子的 时候,什么才是我们要说出的真实?什么时候我们该扔下照相机去抬担架?

如 果我们的摄影师沉溺于其当事人身份的话,那么他和如今上传照片到网络上的网民也会慢慢混同了。然而寇德卡却以强大的自制力出离单纯的悲伤,在画面上这呈现 为:日后成为寇德卡风格标志的分解式构图被自然地用于记录“失败者”的群体,上面每个人物都“离心”朝向不同的方向,同时以情感上的向心力维系那奇险的构 图。这达到了思考表象之下最深处真实的效果,这是带有悲剧精神的画面,在失败的背后,人民开始深思一个民族的命运,他们的思索和摄影者一起如画面的线条向 四周拓展,形成新的空间、新的张力。一种新的报道摄影哲学也从中诞生,摄影者更关心事件深层的心理真实,主观和客观,不过是抵达它的手段。

主 观的介入,是新纪实摄影已经敢于去尝试,而新闻摄影还是刚刚开始的手段——不可否认,网络时代的压力迫使摄影师加速了反思和冒险。我们可以看到,权威思维 中对新闻摄影的“真实”之表达形式的尺度也在放宽,就以被视为新闻摄影中的奥斯卡奖的荷兰世界新闻摄影大赛(简称“荷赛”)的评选为例,今年和2007年爆出的两个大冷门都是强烈挑战传统新闻摄影美学甚至“道德”的,而有趣的是这两个摄影师都来自中国。

2007年“荷赛”自然类组照二等奖作品,是上海摄影师常河的《中国动物园》,当时中外都一片哗然,因为这组照片影像朦胧、四角发暗、焦点发虚,有人甚至怀疑作者经过了PS影像处理,但原来这种效果的获得是因为摄影师使用了玩具相机HOLGA,塑料镜头带来的种种“缺陷”效果,却正好烘托出动物园里颓败、灰暗的氛围。因此它得以战胜无数清晰锐利但没有思考存在的动物照片,可以称之为“观念新闻摄影”。

更 进一步在观念上挑战甚至颠覆新闻摄影之纪实标准的,是今年获“荷赛”肖像类组照三等奖的李洁军作品《复制战争》,他采取的是新闻摄影之大忌:摆拍,使用玩 具士兵来模拟出历史上一些著名的战争影像记录而翻拍之。这当然从头到脚都不是真实的,李洁军在创作这批照片当初也是把它们作为“观念摄影”实验在纯摄影杂 志发表,但意外的是他竟然“斗胆”把它们再作为“新闻摄影”拿去参加“荷赛”!这既是李洁军的一次观念革命,更是权威摄影评判们最大胆的一次观念革命,后 者看出了在此作品复制和造假背后所具有的真实——网络上一个评论者概括得很好:“在虚拟的战争中/玩偶是人/在真实的战争中/人是玩偶”,这一个真实的观念,确实难以用捕捉自战场刹那的现实影像来表现。

纯 然,上述两者所采取的另类方式,只能说是探索新的新闻摄影语言的两种蹊径,形式狭窄而且存在稚气,却在观念上冲破了固有的樊篱。如果我们的影像实验者们能 再往深度发展,未必不能与寇德卡他们开拓出来的那条崎岖之道相接,寻找出在公共影像泛滥的时代的新的摄影之道。新新闻摄影者这样的选择,表面上看来来自网 络传播影像的压力,实际上却与不满足的摄影思考者们同行,而这些实验,最终又将影响回最普遍的民众记录影像,使已经泛滥的拍照行为具有更多的反思,不止停 留在“我看见了,我拍下了”这动作带来的快感上,好让新闻摄影也好、纪实摄影也好、网络摄影也好,都统一到一个大的摄影思考之中——毕竟,摄影始终也是我 们重新深入认识世界的一个手段。