攝影的變與不變

張照堂、沈昭良的攝影觀察
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2018 / 11月

文‧陳亮君 圖‧莊坤儒


《光華》自1976年創刊以來,「影像對話」專欄一直是許多攝影名家投稿的園地,如1986年1月開始連載張照堂的系列〈影像的追尋:台灣寫實攝影家風貌〉、1995年4月刊出之張詠捷〈海島的呼喚〉、2000年9月刊出之沈昭良〈追蹤九二一:中寮記事〉,除豐富《光華》的報導面向,也見證了台灣攝影發展之歷史軌跡。2018年的今天,讓我們再次專訪張照堂與沈昭良兩位國際知名攝影家,談台灣攝影的過去、現在與未來。

 


 

攝影既然作為一門藝術,其內涵就是創作者的理念,其形式就是運用各種媒材,去遂行他在創作上的意志。所涉及的不僅是影像的審美與風格取向,還有對影像拍攝中各個層面的認知與提升。

內容相對重要

「我在韓國大邱的街上看到一個相館,他只做古典的黑白照片,用玻璃板作為載體,我很驚喜,因為這樣的堅持相當不容易。」沈昭良說起古典的回返,在這個數位時代,仍不乏有人開著廂型車出門,當作移動式的暗房,援用達蓋爾的古典技法來創作,「但是作品如果沒能回應這個時代或歷史的某些衝撞,讓古典去叩問當下的多元議題。只是一味的仿古,將錯失古典與現代間可能的實驗與開創。」

提起時代的衝撞,解嚴前後劇烈的社會運動,為紀實攝影帶來不同的改變,張照堂說:「解嚴前已經有幾個攝影家,拍得很有自己的個性,反映出躍躍欲動的社會趨勢。」這時期的攝影家如劉振祥、潘小俠、謝三泰、葉清芳、連慧玲、侯聰慧等人,照片都比較顛覆,不照著傳統在採訪或拍攝,所以畫面比較有張力與衝擊力。正因為這時期有許多議題需要被重視與討論,也提供了紀實攝影豐富的拍攝題材與場域。

「台灣在80年代後就開始有人進行較為觀念性的攝影創作,直到現在。大約到90年代,在當代藝術思潮的牽引下,也為攝影創作帶來了劇烈的改變。」沈昭良提及特別在2000年之後的這段時間,攝影的形式已從平面到立體到複媒跨域,但是核心的關鍵並不是數位、底片、類型、材料、語法甚至形式,而是作者內在「思想」展現的問題,我們關注什麼?想說或表現什麼?之後才是什麼樣的材料/形式能回應上述的需要,而這也是數位、古典,甚至是複媒跨域等各種藝術類型可以並存不悖的原因。

什麼是好照片

「一張好照片是讓你眼睛一亮,讓你感動,讓你驚訝,或是讓你嘆為觀止的一張照片。」張照堂描述著好照片的圖像,可以是裡頭的構圖、光線、人物的情感或特色,也可以是呈現出一種隱晦的深層訊息。大學時期的他,作品主要是以呈現迷惘、抑鬱的實驗影像為主,「大學時看了一些存在主義、超現實主義的書,所以會拍一些有點怪異的東西。可是拍到後來覺得再重複沒什麼意思,所以就停了下來。」張照堂笑說。

直到當完兵後進入電視台開始拍攝紀錄片,慢慢又覺得必須重拾相機,聚焦在寫實攝影上面,但是拍久了又碰上瓶頸,就把以前那超現實的概念融入,拍一些還是寫實,但是是用另一種思考來進行的拍攝。關於這種不按常規的拍攝嘗試,張照堂說道:「我們平常都是靠觀景窗去鎖定我們要的,但是那個被鎖定的東西是被設計過的。」所以他不看觀景窗,用平日所累積的經驗,有時會「意外」抓到一個非常特別、有張力,並且完全脫離你平日觀察的世界。

「我在南藝大教書時,常常會去附近烏山頭水庫那邊散步、拍照,那時水庫旁的泥土都裂掉了,呈現很多很大的溝裂。」張照堂捨棄一般龜裂在前,水庫在後的拍攝方式,而是將相機放在龜裂的土地下,焦距的焦點則放在大約1公尺左右。因為焦點只在前面,後方與更前方呈現出模糊的視感,有點抽象,又有點像土撥鼠從土裡冒出來看外面世界的獨特視角,頗有趣味。

還有一次他在澎湖拍照,看到前方平地上有面高牆,上頭站了一個人,底下站了另一個人,兩人在聊天,還有兩隻狗,「我遠遠看,看到一面牆跟人站到那上面,我就趕快衝過去,可是我到了頂之後,這些人已經談完就散掉了。」就在他們離開的瞬間,張照堂趕緊拿著相機跟著晃了一下。結果出來的作品讓他嚇了一跳,因為那速度正好對著其中一隻白狗,所以白狗清楚,其他兩人與另一隻狗有點移動。最妙的是,那兩個人跟兩隻狗,完全是在最好的位置,與那面牆形成一幅絕佳的畫面。

另一次則是一隻豬躺在地上的畫面,那是在矮靈祭的一個祭典,那隻豬本來是要作獻祭用,所以手腳被綁起來放在地上,「你沒有辦法看到牠的手跟腳,就這樣看牠躺在那,也沒什麼特別,但是旁邊有狗在繞來繞去。」張照堂在想,以狗的角度來看豬是什麼樣子,所以就把相機放在地上,用大約2公尺的焦距對一下,也是在沒看觀景窗的情況下,就這樣拍了幾張。當從暗房洗出照片時,那種渾然天成的極簡構圖,反而形成某種力量與生命力。

新紀實攝影

「別人會覺得從《STAGE》(舞台車)開始,對我來說是一個明顯的轉變,特別是對應到我過去的《映像南方澳》、《玉蘭》、《築地魚市場》,因為它顯得更能回應當代,也更貼近當下。」沈昭良提到雖然根本的體質還是紀實,卻更有「語法」、「結構」與「議題」,從黑白到彩色的轉換,從古典寫實到相對當代的新紀實,透過更為寬闊的概念與形式,呈現出舞台車跟台灣庶民之間的關聯。

「開始拍攝康樂隊歌舞團時,由於他們長期處在一種被定型與汙名化的刻板印象中,我試著靠近並說服他們。那過程也談不上辛苦,因為對攝影創作者來說,這是必經也是該面對克服的事。」沈昭良從2005年開始,全面性的在台灣各地尋找舞台車,一直到2011年出版了《STAGE》攝影集,類似長時間的觀察與拍攝,不但體現了當代攝影的社會性與現代性,更進一步引起了當代藝術圈的關注與討論。

對於沈昭良來說,台灣這塊土地有太多的面向,值得他不斷地投入創作。攝影不只是他謀生的工具,更是展現自我歷程與對外連結的媒介,「我蠻能接受以『個人』形式,頻繁甚至長期在外的那種工作狀態。除了透過觀景窗看別人的世界,也會從觀看他人的過程中看見自己。」

國外經驗反思

這幾年沈昭良參與了國際上大大小小的展覽,今(2018)年8月才剛飛了一趟阿根廷,「這次我是去參加專家見面會(Portfolio Review),見到了很多國外的創作者,有些人希望透過交流能有一聯結,有些人則想聽聽你對他創作的看法。」雖然是在阿根廷,但也有來自智利、以色列、俄羅斯、美國,甚至遠從澳洲來的攝影家。這種對於自己攝影職涯的積極性,正如同張照堂受訪時所說:「國外人家整個攝影的人口,他的野心,所展現出來的多面向成績,是我們較缺少的。」

此外,沈昭良前後去了兩趟西班牙國際攝影節,他提到:「他們整個企劃、架構都很好,展覽的呈現,展品的製作都面面俱到。」除了硬體的實際質感外,更有系統性的知識或訊息在裡面。而這必須是由專業團隊,長時間的經驗累積,才能展現出來的成果。然而,少數個人的展覽,對於一個國家文藝活動的對外推廣,力量仍是有限,如果能集結台灣攝影家的優質作品,透過公部門的支持,讓台灣精緻的軟實力走向國際,是相當值得推動的事。

讓世界看見台灣

2016年7月,張照堂受日本清里攝影藝術美術館(Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts)的邀請,擔任該館青年作品典藏的首位外籍審查委員,沈昭良則隨同擔任翻譯與聯繫的工作。清里美術館館長細江英公在評選結束後的晚宴上,向張照堂提出希望能到台灣進行館際交流的提議,後經台中國美館館長蕭宗煌的支持下,於兩館分別展出這深具意義的跨國交流計畫:「起始‧永遠──日本清里攝影美術館典藏精選展」、「島の記憶1970~90年代の台湾写真」。

尤其這次在清里美術館的展出,集結了11位台灣資深攝影家的青壯年時期作品,與國美館所展出之海因、史蒂格利茲、川田喜久治、森山大道等人青年時期的創作遙相呼應。清里的展出甚至還包括了台灣跨族群、跨議題的集體創作,描繪出台灣發展進程中,至關重要的70至90年代的島嶼輪廓與人文樣貌。

愛知三年展總策展人港千尋教授評述此次展出:「對時代的批判性視野以及報導性視角,讓展覽呈現了緊繃的時代感。……進一步提供了深入閱讀台灣近代史的可能。」知名攝影家北島敬三表示:「在複雜多樣的台灣近代史中,每位攝影家正面迎向不同議題的決心和身影,令他感到震撼。」

另一位攝影家北野謙則表示:「感覺被作品背後所潛藏更為深沉的意義所啟發。」而朝日新聞、日本經濟新聞、每日新聞也都以不小的篇幅,報導這來自台灣不同世代創作者的攝影聯展。這是近二十餘年來,所進行的最大規模的海外攝影交流活動,不但對台日雙方的攝影交流影響深遠,也提升台灣攝影藝術的國際能見度。

提起國際能見度,《光華》肩負著國家傳播的定位,也擁有悠久的歷史傳承,沈昭良說:「我印象中的《光華》就是圖片、文章的質量都很好,是一本可讀性高內容相當紮實的刊物。」張照堂也提及「影像對話」單元對整本雜誌的閱讀上是不錯的,能夠讓讀者在視覺上有不同的觀看角度。近年來,台灣攝影展、攝影節正如火如荼地展開,攝影書的出版也已成為一個顯學,而《光華》自然也不會缺席這場攝影盛宴,期盼透過更深度的企劃,更精美的圖文,將台灣的「好」廣傳出去。

相關文章

近期文章

英文

The Mutable and the Immutable

Ivan Chen /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Scott Williams

Founded in 1976, Taiwan Panorama has printed the work of many well-known photographers in our “Photo Essay” column over the years. These have included ­Chang Chao-tang’s series “In Search of Photos Past” beginning in January 1986, ­Chang Yung-­chieh’s “The Call of the Pescadores” in April 1995, and Shen Chao-­liang’s “Flashback: A Photographer Returns to Chungliao” in September 2000. Our publication of these photos has added depth and beauty to our magazine, while also tracking the history and development of photography in Taiwan. For this month’s issue, we interviewed the internationally renowned ­Chang Chao-tang and Shen Chao-­liang once again to hear their views on the past, present and future of Taiwanese photography.

 


 

Photography is an art, its form consisting of a variety of media, its content, of the photographer’s ideas. The art natur­ally involves the style and aesthetics of the image itself, but it also includes the various levels of recognition and elevation involved in capturing each shot.

The importance of content

“I once saw a photographer on a street in ­Daegu, South Korea, who only shot classic black-and-white pictures on glass plates. I was surprised, because that’s a very difficult approach to stick to.” Shen Chao-­liang goes on to speak about returning to the classics, saying that in the modern digital era, some people still drive vans that they use as mobile darkrooms, and still apply Louis Daguerre’s old-­fashioned techniques. However, he argues, “If the work fails to respond to some aspect of the present day or of history, if its retro style does not engage with the diverse issues of the moment, then it foregoes the opportunity to experiment and innovate, and becomes simply pseudo-classicism.” 

Speaking about the collision of eras, and the changes in documentary photography wrought by the dramatic social movements surrounding the end of martial law, ­Chang remarks: “Even before the end of martial law, a few photographers were already taking pictures deeply infused with their personalities and reflecting burgeoning social trends.” The work of photographers of this period, including Liu Chen-­hsiang, Pan ­Hsiao-hsia, ­Hsieh San-tai, Yeh ­Ching-fang, Lian Hui­ling, and Hou ­Tsung-hui, was somewhat subversive. They didn’t stick to tradition, which made their images more dynamic and impactful.

“People began creating more conceptual photographic works in the 1980s, and that has continued to the present day. By the 1990s or so, photography was changing dramatically in response to the contemporary artistic zeitgeist.” Shen makes specific mention of the change in photographic forms after 2000, which shifted from 2D to 3D, and from there to multiple media and multidisciplinary approaches. The issue wasn’t digital photography versus film, nor the categories, materials, and photographic language employed, but rather the questions arising in the photographers’ minds: What are we focusing on? What do we want to say or express? He explains that it was only after answering these questions that they could determine what materials and forms their work required. This is why digital, classical, and even multiple media and multidisciplinary approaches can all exist side by side.

What makes a “good” photo?

Chang Chao-tang says a photographic image can be considered good for its internal structure, lighting, human feeling, or uniqueness, or for its revelation of veiled information. At university, ­Chang mainly shot experimental images intended to convey perplexity and depression. But then, tired of revisiting the same themes again and again, he put his camera aside.

It was only after completing his ­military service and going to work shooting documentaries for a television network that ­Chang realized that he needed to begin taking photos again. He started by focusing on realistic images, but soon hit a bottleneck. He then began incorporating a few of his previous surreal concepts, shooting images that retained an ele­ment of realism but executing them with different ideas in mind. He says, “We usually use the viewfinder to lock on to what we want, but in doing so are designing the thing we have locked on to.” He therefore decided to stop looking through the viewfinder and instead rely on his own accumulated experience, a process that sometimes enables him to “accidentally” capture something very unique, dynamic, and completely outside people’s ordinary observable world.

“When I taught at Tai­nan National University of the Arts, I often used to stroll through the area around the Wu­shan­tou Dam taking photographs. Back then, the earth around the reservoir was cracked and split into many gullies.” ­Chang abandoned the typical framing of such photographs, which would have placed the fissures in the foreground and the reservoir behind, and instead rested his camera in the cracks and set his focal point at about one meter. The nearness of the focal point and the shallow depth of field created a blurring of the background and the extreme foreground, giving the photos an abstract look and a perspective like that of a groundhog that has just poked its head from a hole.

Once, while taking pictures in ­Penghu, he spotted a man standing on a high wall speaking down to another man on the flat ground below. There were two dogs there, as well. ­Chang grabbed his camera and snapped off a few quick shots just as the two men were leaving, and was surprised to find that he had captured one of the dogs, a white one, in sharp focus, while the other dog and the two men were in slightly blurred motion. He found the composition even more remarkable: the placement of the men and dogs relative to the wall was perfect, creating a great image.

Another time, he got an interesting photo of a pig lying on the ground. Intended as a sacrifice for Pas-ta’ai, the “ritual of the short ­people” ­celebrated by the Saisiyat people, the pig’s legs were bound. ­Chang wondered what it would be like to view it from a dog’s perspective, so he placed his camera on the ground, set the focal point at about two meters, and took several photos without looking through the viewfinder. When he developed the photos, he felt that their extremely simple, naturalistic composition imbued them with a kind of power and vitality.

New documentary photography

“Other people think that my work underwent a big change beginning with Stage, especially compared to my earlier Reflections of Nan-fang-ao, Yulan Magnolia Flowers, and Tsukiji Fish Market, because the more recent work obviously better reflects the present day and adheres to the present moment.” Shen says that while his newer work remains documentary at its core, it has more “language” and “structure,” and touches on more “issues.” It has also moved from black-and-white to color, and from classical realism to a very contemporary new documentary style. These broader conceptual and formal parameters highlight the connections between Stage and the Taiwanese public.

Shen began working on Stage in 2005, scouring Taiwan in search of mobile entertainment stages. He continued to do so until the book’s 2011 publication, making it a long-term observation and photography project that not only reflected the modernity and social awareness of contemporary photo­graphy, but also spurred discussion in contemporary art circles.

Shen finds many-faceted Taiwan a worthy focus for his ongoing creative efforts. To him, photography isn’t just a means to earn a living, but is also a medium for exhibiting self-processes and external connections. “I am pretty comfortable doing the kind of ‘individual’ work that involves being away from home frequently or even long term. It lets me see other people’s worlds through a viewfinder, and also see myself in my views of them.

Showing Taiwan to the world

In July 2016, ­Chang became the first foreign member of the committee that selects work by young artists for Japan’s Ki­yo­sato Museum of Photographic Arts. Shen Chao-­liang became a translator and liaison for the museum at the same time. At the banquet after the selections were complete, museum director Ei­koh Ho­soe mentioned that he hoped the museum could arrange an exchange with a museum in Taiwan. With the support of National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts director ­Hsiao Tsung­-­huang, the two museums went on to organize an exchange program whereby each would exhibit works from the other’s collection.

The exhibition at the Ki­yo­sato Museum drew together works created by 11 veteran Taiwanese photographers when they were in their primes, while the NTMoFA exhibition included photos taken by Lewis Hine, Alfred Stieg­litz, Ki­kuji Ka­wada, and ­Daidō Mo­ri­yama in their youths. The Ki­yo­sato exhibition included works by photographers of different ethnicities depicting different aspects of Taiwan and its culture during the developmentally important period from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Taiwan Panorama has long been a disseminator of information about Taiwan. Shen says: “My impression of Taiwan Panorama is that both its articles and its photos are of good quality. It’s a very readable publication with solid content.” ­­Chang, meanwhile, mentions that the magazine’s “Photo Essay” feature offers readers different visual perspectives. Taiwan’s photo­graphy exhibitions, festivals, and publishing have developed and flourished in recent years, and Taiwan Panorama has participated in this photographic feast. We look forward to publishing still more refined articles and photographs in the future, delving ever more deeply into topics to raise the international profile of the very best Taiwan has to offer.

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