⟨ Book ⟩

BROWNIE Magazine

Volume 1: Human Connections

Words / Jas Tse
Photography / Kimio Ng
Translation / Ian Tsang

布朗尼工作室,由多國攝影師組成的團隊,他們舉辦展覽、出版刊物,以分享來自世界各地的攝影文化。《BROWNIE》是其中一本出版物,創刊號以「人群關係」為主題,一冊輯錄了十位攝影師的專題報導,不聊技術層面,只探視真實情感。

來自法國的Gabriel Gauffre在〈The Accident〉一章,紀錄了某次到沖曬店沖印膠卷,結果整批黑白照上都有纍纍的燒痕;感光劑不知為何爆裂了,於是他開始責難,追究沖曬店的問題,同時追尋到底是相機還是膠卷出了異樣。他在網路上求救、從身邊朋友間打聽,最後聯絡到一間攝影工作室主人。兩人無所不用其極但都找不到緣由,無法複製出相同的效果,但在過程中聊到各自對攝影的初衷,讓Gabriel意識到,當初想探求的答案其實已不再重要,因為這一次意外反讓他找回曾失去的攝影熱情,還有與志同道合的相遇,繼而找到共鳴。

新加坡攝影師李長明在〈Through the Looking Glass〉一章,則深刻地著墨於攝影對他的意義 —— 「曾有人提到攝影是一種精神狀態,於我而言,當我打算出門拍照的時候,我感覺自己處於大腦中的一個特定空間,在這個空間中,我既是脫離周遭的觀察者,又是置身於其中並對自己的所思所想更加自知的在場者。」他好像在說攝影,也像在說人生。

而在篇章〈Interconnections〉,我們看到斯洛伐克攝影師Tereza Červeňová作品的那種溫柔魅力,能將人拉近至一個舒適而私密的空間。她喜愛日本詩歌的俳句,被當中的電影感所吸引,其照片也有類似的韻律,每幅照片之間好像都能有所關聯,她拍下的可能是一個別人不經意的動作、或者眼神,最後組成一連串像詩般的影像。弟弟是她長久以來的「繆斯」,因為能在彼此身上看到對方影子,於是她透過拍攝他來陪著他長大,翻看照片就如見證自己的成長。

無論他們喜歡攝影、選擇繼續攝影的原因有多麼不同,即使每個獨立篇章都有其探尋之處,卻同樣關於人、關於人與人的連繫。攝影可以是傳意工具與謀生技能,也可以成為剖開生活表象的動機。攝影師一角色某程度上就是「開荒者」吧,帶領通往我們自己不曾見也許不曾知的國度。

BROWNIE is a team composed of photographers from multiple countries who organize exhibitions and release publications to share the culture of photography around the world. Among its publications is BROWNIE Magazine, whose first issue centers around the theme of human connections, featuring reportages from ten photographers who, rather than talking about techniques, explore real emotions.

In the chapter titled “The Accident”, Garbriel Gauffre, who hails from France, narrated his experience of having film rolls developed in a film development store. The whole batch of black-and-white photos ended up bearing many burn marks; for unknown reasons, the light sensitive emulsion had somewhat exploded. Thus, he began to put the blame on the store while trying to get to the bottom of whether it was the camera or the film that went awry. He tried to go online and to his friends for help, and in the end he managed to get in touch with the owner of a photographic studio. They exhausted all possible means trying to find out the cause, but it was futile. They failed to duplicate the same effects on the photos. However, along the way, as they talked about what brought them to photography in the first place, Gabriel began to realize that the answer he was looking for did not matter to him anymore. Thanks to this accident, he managed to rediscover his passion for photography, and meet a like-minded individual, with whom he finds resonance.

In “Through the Looking Glass”, Singaporean photographer Lee Chang Ming digs deep into what photography means to him — “Someone once mentioned that photography is a state of mind, and, for me, I feel like I occupy a particular headspace when I go out with the intention to take pictures, where I’m simultaneously a removed observer from my surroundings, while being present and more aware of my own thoughts and consciousness.” It seems he is talking about photography but it might be life he is talking about as well.

In the chapter “Interconnections”, we can see the gentle appeal of works by Slovakian photographer Tereza Červeňová; her works can bring people closer together in a comfortable and private space. She loves Haiku, a form of Japanese poems, fascinated by its cinematic quality. Her images also boast a similar poetic rhythm, and you can seem to find interconnections between all of them. What she captures might be a casual movement or a facial expression, and together they form a series of poetic images. For a long time, her younger brother has been her “Muses” because they can find bits of their own selves in each other. She has accompanied his growth by taking photos of him, and flipping through the photos is akin to witnessing her own growth.

Despite how different their reasons for loving and continuing to practice photography are, and how each independent chapter explores something different, they are all about connections among humans. Photography can be a communication tool or a survival skill, but it can also be a motivation for cutting through the surface of life. Being a photographer is somewhat like taking on the role of a pioneer, who leads us into somewhere we have never seen or known.