光影記事憶鄉情

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1987 / 6月

文‧張照堂 圖‧許蒼澤



如果說,照相機的原始功能是「紀錄現實,反映自然」,那麼愈早去獵影現實、辛勤拍照的人,愈有機會抓住時代變遷中的光影跡痕。即使他不是站在「藝術」的觀點,不以「創作」的使命感自居,純粹只是默默、不停地紀錄他所感興致的周遭題材,在長年的影像累積下,這些光影記事,仍能為我們保留了一些可供回憶與珍惜的鄉情往事。

許蒼澤就是這樣一位無所為而為的攝影者。在他卅多年來的獵影中,出門總不忘身上攜一部小相機,按快門就像眨一下眼睛。他估算了一下,前後大約拍過一千兩百支黑白、一千四百多支彩色軟片,近期內產量不輟,每天平均要送洗一卷片子。他說:「攝影算是我的娛樂,不是為了發表,也不為比賽。我是高興玩相機罷了,我的作品也沒什麼藝術可言。但是,我確實留下許多本省的鄉土風貌。」

成長與風格

許蒼澤,一九三○年出生於鹿港。他的父親許讀先生早在日據時代就迷上攝影術。因為開設診所的緣故,經濟稍為寬裕,許讀很早就買了相機,並自設工作房,熱中替家族親友拍照留影。

光復那年,許蒼澤十六歲,第一次接觸那笨重的大型相機和玻璃底片,加上他父親所擁有的攝影叢書、放大相紙,與材料上的便利,他逐漸對攝影產生難以抗拒的興致。一九五七那一年,他自己買了小型相機NikonS2之後,就更放開眼界行走於鄉野之間,開始紀錄各種民間景象。

許讀先生今年已八十七歲,仍在鹿港中山路上的診所媊a壺醫病,而他早年所留下來老的相機、測光表、人像照,也都成了許蒼澤所收藏、緬懷與自豪的紀念物了。

成年後的許蒼澤與朋友合資在鹿港經營一家戲院,因而認識了台北專營銀幕與電影器材生意的張士賢,兩人都是攝影的狂熱者,一拍即合,開始結伴出遊。他們後來還組了一個「香蕉俱樂部」,包括陳龍三、徐清波、鄭水等人在內,每個月一起合資購買日本的五本攝影雜誌(Asahi Camera、Camera每日、Nikon Camera、Photo Arts、Camera藝術)專攻社會寫實,一起以BananaClub的名義參與雜誌的對抗賽,其向心團結的氣勢甚為高昂。可惜在五○年代末期隨著號召人張士賢的肝癌去世,沒能繼續凝結一股力量而各自分散了。

許蒼澤在那一段時期受寫實主義的影響很大。不過,他的寫實態度不像張士賢那麼強勁、犀利,他的視點隨意而溫和。許蒼澤的個人風格不明顯,他不刻意取景、不強調情緒,一切隨其自然,在勞動與休閒的生活中流露著泥土、草根的平實氣息。

許蒼澤的許多照片只是站在「記實」觀點,似乎處處可以取景,而較缺乏嚴謹的構思與更精準的快門取捨,情感平易而未能觸及更凝注、深沉的人性觀照。其實,這就是許蒼澤的攝影態度,他避免「藝術化」的牽涉或「戲劇性」的處理,他只要像凡人一樣,忠實地表達他的所見所感。一如他所說的:「攝影技巧是一種光和影的遊戲。是一種機械性的記錄活動,只要調好光圈和焦距,把快門按下,就成為永恆的記憶。」

許澤蒼說:「攝影工作也是一種生活。能讓平凡的日常生活留下許多情趣,能讓逝去的歲月留下一些痕跡。藉著攝影工作,我做了戶外的活動,調劑身心是我主要的目的。面對著大自然,我去表現內心的意念,訴說我的情感。」能這麼自知之明地說,自己的作品只是一種「消遣」,或「調劑」的留影,不是「藝術」,卻也相當坦然而直率罷。

「人」的氣味

在許蒼澤林林總總的照片中,描寫一般民間勞動、習俗、自然生態、鄉間活動等佔大多數,信手拈來,那種偶遇中的淡然,心情既不十分靠近,亦非疏遠隔離,保持一個「距離」去看,是他的慣用視角。

擦肩相遇,就站在那第一印象的立足點,舉起相機即拍,不多做考慮,不停留太久,拍完就離開,去另尋一個目標,所有的留戀也許只在當時按快門的一剎那,以及二、三十年後重新目睹的一刻,這是許蒼澤很多照片給人的感覺。

其中,比較特出的作品,總是綜合地流露出一些訊息,譬如:人的氣味、動作的細節、情緒的顯示、事件的地方色彩等等。

在「調皮」(一九六三年)一圖中,用漁網在身上的孩童﹐皺眉閉目的神情,像是在賭氣。電線桿上的粉筆畫,以及孩童肌顏被網線紋飾的趣味,巧妙地表達了一個漁家生活的童年氣味。

同樣是鄉居孩童,在「黑眼鏡」(一九六二年)中出現的這個時髦裝扮的女孩,卻若有其事,一付「小大人」神情。她行走在老街上,引起另一個街坊女童的好奇與側目,兩人在行進的步伐中,幽默地傳達了一種身分互異、新舊交替的趣味。

「回娘家」(一九六○年)中的兩位摩登婦女,以及側身而過的男士背景,顯現了六○年代初的一般服飾與舉止。少婦右手提著皮箱,左手拿著花,她戴著圓帽,半開的毛線衣外套上,左腋夾著皮包。而另一位女士圈著絲巾,穿著時尚的大衣,在她的黑手套中,握著一支柺杖,用不同的眼神,好像在趕著路……。這些舉止與形象的細節背後,似乎隱藏著一個委婉可訴的時代故事。

手上拿著香煙怯笑的老婦人(「煙的滋味」)、肩上扛著丁字鍬的礦伕(「下工」)、頸子上圍繞著毒蛇的草藥販子(「玩蛇的人」)、坐在高椅子等著戲開演的老婆和祖孫兩人相倚的姿態(「等待」)……這些透露著人的氣味和生活的自然神情,其實就是寫實照片之較為樸質動人的一個主因罷。

文字的陷阱

一年多前,許蒼澤挑出這些六○年代前後的作品六十餘張,配合作家的文字,以「歷史的腳步」為題,在台灣時報副刊上連載一段時間,之後也集結這些圖文出書。

書名為「記憶」的這本影冊,每張照片旁都附上文學作家的小品散文,或訴諸自己的回憶與想像,或旁敲側擊引證自己的生命哲理。雖然這是較淺易而討好的閱讀導向,在影像之外,給資訊上的補遺,但從「攝影」的本質上來說,它卻時常徒增畫蛇添足或喧賓奪主的遺憾。有時候,過多感性用詞的沉溺,以及非當事人的架空幻想,既牽強附會,也扭曲現實,更掠奪了影像本身原具有的客觀且中性的本質,因而喪失他原本具有的自由聯想與認知的空間。有時候,甚至一個簡單的「標題」都已束縛或侷限了影像的其他可讀性,何況還要附會一大堆文字呢?

在「豬哥旺仔」(一九五九年)一圖中,也許對某些人來說,解釋「旺仔」帶著他的種豬去交配幹活是必須的,但文字後面,還要這樣寫著:「這樣的生活,我們也是相當滿足的,或許,我是一個知足的人。」這就有點知識分子的一廂情願罷。

其實,「豬哥旺仔」、「記憶」(一九六四年)、「醮」(一九六三年)都是不錯的民俗采風,不一定需要文字去膨脹它的意義,更切忌做煽情性的描繪。如果它是一張好照片,影像本身必須先吸引人,其它的附註或演繹切忌幫倒忙才是。

平凡的訊息

相較起來,許蒼澤早年所拍的黑白照片,要比他日後的彩色片,顯得簡單而樸質。彩色的照片,在精神與形象上,總顯得花俏、凌亂,而且好像缺乏一種「執著」的本質。大家都在追求「色彩」的豔麗性,但顏色的表相後,究竟還有多少東西留下來呢?

許蒼澤一直秉持自然、隨和的寫實態度,他的「即拍」(Snap)畢竟也變成了一種沒有風格的風格。有些照片,初看之下不覺得怎麼樣,多看幾次卻也能發覺,在那平凡之後,實在還存有許多淡淡的訊息。那也許是對生命個體的謙敬和對生活境況的感懷,值得我們去慢慢地領會。

〔圖片說明〕

P.106

卅歲的許蒼澤1960

P.106

等待鹿港1963

P.107

調皮鹿港1963

P.108

玩蛇的人嘉義1959

P.108

下工九份1959

P.109

黑眼鏡鹿港1962

P.109

回娘家鹿港1962

P.110

煙的滋味台南1960

P.110

豬哥旺仔鹿港 1959

P.111

醮彰化菜園角1963

P.110

記憶鹿港1964

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Country Memories Recorded In Light and Shadow

Chang Chao-t'ang /photos courtesy of Hsu Ts'ang-tse /tr. by Peter Eberly


If the original function of the camera is to record reality and reflect the natural, then even photographers who reject the stance of "artistry" and "creativity," and who simply record quietly the subjects of interest they find around them, can still offer pictures that, as the years pass, preserve for us cherished memories of people and places of the past.

Hsu Ts'ang-tse is one of these photographers. In the thirty and more years that he has been taking pictures, he has never gone outside without taking a camera along and has been snapping the shutter as easily as blinking his eyes. He estimates that he has taken around 1,200 black- and-white and over 1,400 color photos, and he continues to develop a roll a day on average.

"Photography to me is recreation," he says. "It's not for getting published or winning contests. My pictures have no artistry to speak of. But I really have recorded many scenes and people of our province."

Hsu Ts'ang-tse was born in 1930 in Lukang, a small city in western Taiwan. His father, a doctor, had taken up photography before him, setting up a workroom where he photographed friends and relatives, and ever since the younger Hsu first touched his father's bulky camera with its glass plates when he was sixteen, he felt a growing and compelling interest in photography himself. In 1957, after he bought a little Nikon S2, he began to travel about the countryside, recording scenes among the people there.

Hsu invested with some friends in a movie theater, and in this way came to meet Chang Shih-hsien, another photography fanatic, who sold motion picture equipment in Taipei. Chang and Hsu, together with Ch'en Lung-san, Hsu Ch'ing-po, Cheng Shu, and others, formed the Banana Club, which subscribed to five Japanese photography magazines specializing in social realism and participated in magazine contests as a group. The club broke up in the late 1950's after Chang Shih-hsien's death, however, and the members went their separate ways.

Hsu was heavily influenced during that period by realistic photography. However, his attitude toward realism is not as forceful as Chang's was; Hsu is more moderate and easygoing, preferring to let things come naturally rather than stressing emotions. He avoids the "artistic" and the "dramatic," faithfully expressing what he sees and feels as an ordinary person. He puts it this way: "Photography is a game of light and shadow, a mechanical documentary activity. As long as you've got the light and the focus right, just press the button and you'll have a memory for all eternity."

Says Hsu: "Photography has been a refreshing outdoor activity for me mentally and physically, allowing me to express my inner thoughts and feelings in the face of Nature." His insistence that his works are a form of "recreation" and "relaxation" rather than "art" is candid and forthright.

Sketches of ordinary people at work, of local customs, of the natural world, and of folk activities make up the bulk of Hsu's vast corpus of work. His pictures maintain a certain distance in viewpoint, neither far nor near, a calm detachment, and a sense of the fortuitous.

Many of his pictures give us the feeling that they were taken as soon as he came upon the scene, without much deliberation or hesitation, from the position of first impression, and that he moved on as soon as they were done.

The most outstanding express some information, such as details of a person's movements or temperament, a display of emotions, or an incident and its local color.

In "Mischievous," the pouting child with frown and closed eyes, the chalk pictures on the telephone pole, and the interesting pattern of the fish net against his skin ingeniously portray the flavor of growing up in a fishing family.

Another country child, in "Dark Glasses," looks quite the little adult in her fashionable get up, as she "steps out" on the town, attracting another girl's half-curious, half-disapproving glance: a humorously expressed encounter between the old and the new.

The two modern women in "Going Back to Mother's" display styles of dress and bearing common in the early 1960's. The young woman's suitcase, flowers, hat, young woman's suitcase, flowers, hat, sweater, and pocketbook, and the older woman's scarf, overcoat, gloves, and cane, together with their different expressions and their hurried strides, seem tactfully to recount some story of the times.

The old woman smiling timidly in "The Taste of a Smoke," the miner shouldering a pick in "Off Work," the herbal medicine vendor with a poisonous snake wrapped around his neck in "The Snake Man," the old woman on the chair and the grandmother with her grandson waiting for the play to begin in "Waiting"--these figures, revealing people's natural expressions and a taste of their lives, display some of the ways that simple, realistic photographs can move us so deeply.

Two years ago, over 60 of Hsu's photographs from the 1960's were carried in a newspaper as a series under the title "Steps of History," accompanied by an author's text, a series which was later published as a book called Memories. The text was lightly done and rather engaging, but in fact good photographs are often spoiled by attempts of this kind. Sometimes even a mere title is enough to inhibit the possibilities of reading a photograph, let alone a whole pile of strained and inappropriate prose.

"Pig Breeder Wang," "A Memory," and "Religious Festival," all from the book Memories, are each a fine portrayal of life among the people and require no textual or emotional elaboration. A good photograph can stand on its own.

Hsu Ts'ang-tse's natural, easygoing attitude toward realistic photography gives him a style without a style. At first glance, his pictures may not look like much, but repeated observation reveals their depth: a humble respect for the individual and a feeling for life's conditions that deserve our quiet comprehension.

[Picture Caption]

Hsu Ts'ang-tse at age 30, 1960.

Waiting, 1963.

Mischievous, 1963.

Off Work, 1959.

The Snake Man, 1959.

Going Back to Mother's, 1960.

Dark Glasses, 1962.

The Taste of a Smoke, 1960.

Pig Breeder Wang, 1959.

A Memory, 1964.

Religious Festival, 1963.

 

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