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2016 | 国际单元 | 手稿:让经典重回母体

郑梓煜:策展人、影像艺术评论,中山大学视觉传播方向博士

Magnum 这个在拉丁文中意为“伟大、顽强”的词语,自1947年开始多了一层特定的含义:一批特立独行的摄影师构成的共同体。对20世纪摄影史而言,马格南是一个跨越了半个多世纪持续至今的传奇,一个与历史同在的另类旁观者与记录者,树立了报道与纪实摄影的世界标杆。在这一历程中,马格南摄影师创造了诸多经典名作,这些作品已经成为特定时代的视觉符号。

但这并不是一个膜拜经典的展览。相反,这是一个“解构”经典的展览。所谓解构,是因为经典的塑造常常伴随着去语境化、符号化与神秘化的过程,而这个展览则把名作的原始底片印样展现出来,让经典回到它诞生的“母体”中,因情境还原而祛魅。

在漫长的胶片时代,摄影始终是一个带有神秘色彩的过程,按下快门的时刻你并不能确切地知道底片上留下了什么,这种悬而未决的状态直至底片印样第一次被制作出来才终止。底片印样是摄影师与自己作品的第一次真正对视,初见并非总是怦然心动,大多数时候伴随着失望。通常,每卷胶卷中只有少数的几幅照片会被放大,只有更少数的照片会进入传播,而最终成为被铭记的经典者,则更是大浪淘沙,余者寥寥。

这个过程中,观看底片印样仅仅是摄影师、图片编辑、代理机构和少数亲密者之间所进行的私密行动。底片印样被当做一种中间产物,当它完成了照片初选的使命,便开始了在档案盒中的漫长沉睡,甚至被弃置不顾。

或许是因为布列松创造的“决定性瞬间”这一概念过于深入人心,以至于很多人以为优秀的摄影师拍照片,应该如同狙击手那般精准而节制,只有在决定性瞬间来临之时才冷静优雅地按动快门,真正的大师要拥有例无虚发的盖世神功。而长期以来对经典作品的去语境化传播和膜拜更是无形中强化了这种成见,这些经典影像成为漂浮在话语空间中的孤独者,仿佛横空出世,看不清来路。

我们的视线被“好照片”的标准所禁锢,理所当然地忽略了作为必然代价的“坏照片”所可能承载的信息与价值。然而,摄影从来都不是一次性的捕获,而是一次又一次的选择与修正。照片是瞬间的切片,是凝固的视线,底片印样呈现的却是一股时间流,是流动的情境,是鲜活的上下文。

底片印样还原了一个摄影师在现场的工作状态与即时反应,既记录了灵光闪现,也记录了阴差阳错。也正因承载了太多的信息,底片印样之于大多摄影师而言是一种私密的存在。我把这些底片印样称为“手稿”,是因为惟有这个词,才能在中文语境中准确地传达这些底片印样之于经典作品和摄影史的意义。有别于摄影长久以来被认为是“机器成像”的产物,手稿之“手”,恰如其分地体现了创作者手泽余温的独特意涵,象征着曾经的亲密接触与费心劳神。经典之外,手稿重塑了另一部历史,一部观看方式的历史。让经典重回母体,就是试图重建这种历史情境的努力。

在一个图像以天文数字的量级被生产、消费与遗忘的年代,谈论这些似乎已是不合时宜,或者仅仅是一种略带感伤的怀旧,正如现任马格南主席马丁·帕尔(Martin Parr)把《Magnum Contact Sheets》(中文版《马格南世纪经典》由中国摄影出版社出版)称为“底片印样的墓志铭”。今天摄影师的烦恼是永远不够时间去仔细翻看动辄以 TB 级计算的海量照片。摄影越发变得方生方死,从按下快门到看见照片,时间的间隔已可忽略不计,再也不会有那种等待中的忐忑或烦躁、初见时的懊恼或狂喜,更不会有一份记录这种初见的诚实印样。哪个摄影师没有在回放照片的时候快速地删除掉那些记录了令人难堪的技术错误的废片呢?即使储存卡是海量的,自尊心却是脆弱的。

正当我们筹备这个展览的时候,传来93岁的马克·吕布(Marc Riboud)逝世的消息,这或许真的是一个时代终结的隐喻。感谢底片印样,我们得以想象1953年,年轻的马克·吕布如何略带羞涩地在埃菲尔铁塔上与油漆工人们一起进退腾挪,就连他在铁塔上实践布列松教给他的“把取景器倒过来看作品构图”的秘笈而差点从铁塔上摔下来的轶事,也变得真切起来。马克·吕布在他超过半世纪的摄影生涯中数十次踏足中国,深圳这座象征着中国现代化革新成就的城市曾经是他重要的观察对象,《马格南手稿》在深圳的展出因而也更显意义重大。

Magnum, a word means "great, strong" in Latin, gains one more specific meaning since 1947: a community composed of a group of maverick photographers. For the photographic history of the 20th century, Magnum is a legend spans more than half a century which continues today, and an alternative spectator and recorder be with the history. It has established the worldwide benchmark of photojournalism and documentary photography. In this course, the photographers of Magnum have created many classics, these works have become the visual symbols of the specific times.

However, this is not an exhibition to worship the classic. On the contrary, it is an exhibition to "deconstruct" the classic. We call it deconstruction, because the shaping of classic is often accompanied by the process of de-contextualization, symbolization and mystification, while this exhibition will display the original contact sheets of the masterpieces, leave the classic back to its "parent body", and make disenchantment by situational reduction.

During the long era of photographic film, photography has always been a mysterious process. When you press the shutter, you don't know what exactly left on the film, this pending state would not be terminated until the film contact sheet was made for the first time. Contact sheet is the first chance for a photographer to look at his work, but the first sight may not always make his heart beat faster, most of them are disillusionary. Usually, only a few photos of each roll of film will be printed, even fewer photos will be propagated, and eventually, only very few of them will be remembered as the classics.

In this process, watching the contact sheet is the private activity which is only carried among photographer, photo editor, agency and a few of intimate people. Contact sheet is treated as an intermediate product, when it finishes its mission of photo primary election, it will begin a long sleep in the file box, even being discarded.

Perhaps the concept of "the decisive moment" created by Henri Cartier-Bresson has gained so much popularity that many people believe good photographer should be as precise and abstemious as a sniper, only presses the shutter button calmly and elegantly in a decisive moment. They assume that a true master should have his magic power and won’t miss anything. And the de-contextual propagation and worship of the classic work has reinforced this preconceived idea for a long time. These classic images become the loners floating in the discourse space, as if they were coming out unexpectedly, you can’t find any clue about them.

Our eyes are framed by the "good photo" standard, so we ignore the possible information and value of the "bad image" which as the inevitable cost deservedly. However, photography has never been a one-time capture, it is to select and correct again and again. Photograph is the slice of moment, and the stillness sight, while contact sheet presents a flow of time, it is the floating situation, and the fresh context.

Contact sheet restores the working condition and instant reaction for a photographer at the scene, it both records a flash of brilliance and a strange combination of circumstances. Due to the great deal of information it is carrying, for many photographers contact sheet is a private existence. I named these contact sheets the "manuscripts", because only this word could convey the contact sheets’ significance for the classic works and the history of photography accurately in the Chinese context. Different from “product of machine” that photography has been considered as customarily, the “manual” of “manuscript” reflects the special meaning of a creator’s trace appropriately, and symbolizes the past intimate contact and significant effort. Beyond the classic, the manuscript has reshaped another history, a history of ways of seeing. To leave the classic back to its parent body, is the effort of trying to rebuild this historical situation.

In an age of images are produced, consumed and forgotten with enormous scale, talking about these seem to be inappropriate, or it is simply the reminiscence with a bit of sadness, just like the current Magnum president Martin Parr called “Magnum Contact Sheets" as "the epitaph of contact sheet". Today a photographer's trouble is that he never had enough time to go through the enormous photos he took carefully. Photography is in the constantly changing condition, from press the shutter to see the photo, the time between them is negligible, there would never have that kind of anxious or upset during waiting, and annoy or ecstasy for the first sight. There will be no more honest contact sheet to record the first sight. Any photographer who has never quickly delete the waste photo that records his embarrassing technical error during the playback? Even if the memory card is quite large, the self-esteem is fragile.

When we were preparing this exhibition, the 93-year-old Magnum veteran Marc Riboud passed away. Perhaps it is really the metaphor of the end of an era. Thanks to the contact sheets, we could imagine in 1953, how the shy young Marc Riboud and the painters moved and made room on the Eiffel Tower, even the anecdote about his practice of the secret tip that Henri Cartier-Bresson taught him to "reverse the viewfinder to see the composition of work" on the Eiffel Tower and he almost fell down from the tower also become vivid. During his career spanning more than half a century, Marc Riboud came to China for dozens of time. Shenzhen, the city which is a symbol of China's modern innovative achievements was his important observation subject. Therefore, the Magnum Contact Sheets exhibition in Shenzhen is even more significant.

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