⟨ I Know I'll Often Stop and Think About Them ⟩

16-Please Believe

OUR MOUNTAIN by Takashi Homma

Words & Photography / Holun Tang
Translation / Nicole Go

「下北沢世代」這家以售賣設計、攝影書為主的台北書店已經不存在了。店曾經搬過一次,新舊兩家我都有去過。記得去舊店那一次,地點是按著門號才能找到的一棟普通公寓,我沿著樓梯拾級而上,感覺居然像我平常去的香港樓上書店。原來台北也有這種地方。

到訪「下北沢世代」本是我那趟旅行的主要目的,那個安靜的下午,剛好沒有其他客人,我幾乎翻閱了店內每一本書。其中一本靜靜躺在玻璃櫃裡,非常薄的一本,簡單白色封面上只有名字《OUR MOUNTAIN》。我要求店主拿出來讓我看。

Shimokitazawa Generations, the independent Taipei bookstore keen on design and photography, is permanently closed. They had moved once; I’ve been to both the old and the new spaces. The old space was located in a regular apartment, the kind you’d walk straight past if you don’t know what you’re looking for. I remember climbing the stairs, feeling as though I was visiting one of those upstairs treasure troves in Hong Kong. I couldn’t believe these hideaways existed in Taipei.

Shimokitazawa Generations was the purpose of my trip then. It was a quiet afternoon. The only visitor, I flipped through almost every single book available. One of them nestled in a glass cabinet – a very thin book with a minimalist cover that read: OUR MOUNTAIN. I asked the storekeeper if I could have a look at it.

毫無準備翻開第一頁,是一個有些朦朧的黑白山峰照片,到第二頁、第三頁……仍是一模一樣的山峰,我無法確定它是否同一張照片,或者說我相信它並不是同一張照片,因為畫面的顏色不可思議地每張加深下去。最初被朝霧縈繞的山嶺,慢慢露出稜角,然後在午後峨然矗立空中,可是光線沒有停止變暗,世界的幕徐徐落下,直到一切落入無盡深邃的黑。看畢,我深深吸一口氣,一陣過往不曾有的暗流在我胸口翻滾。

不料最後還有一頁,是一個回復色彩的明亮雪山。可以說是豁然開朗嗎?

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Opening the book, I was greeted by a hazy, black and white photo of a mountain. The pages that followed were practically the same. I couldn’t tell if they were the same photograph, or at least I didn’t think so – the monochrome increased in intensity with each photograph. First, the mountain rose through the voile of morning haze, reaching for the afternoon sky. Meanwhile, the photographs themselves darkened. Came nightfall, earth slumbered in its dominion. I took a deep breath. An undercurrent of unrest, hitherto unknown, swirled in my chest.

Like the light at the end of the tunnel, the photobook ended with a snow-capped mountain in colour.

攝影師Takashi Homma運用凸版印刷技術把一張彩色的山岳照片從淺到深翻印了十四個影像,最後甚至用了三種黑色相疊成一片深不見底的晦暗。這種古老技術所造成的粗糙和不均勻感,讓我相信它們每一張也是獨立而富生命力的風景,而同時又必須作連貫理解,作品涵義才能成立。

Using letterpress printing, Takashi Homma created fourteen copies of the same photograph in nuanced colour and shade. He finally superimposed three black images, to visualise the abyss. As the oldest of the traditional printing techniques, letterpress has a haptic, almost ad hoc quality to it, breathing life into each simulacrum. At the same time, the simulacra must be viewed as a whole for it to create meaning.

一本只有十六頁的小書呈現了許多攝影元素的調和:光與暗、黑白與彩色、定格和流動、表相和實相;這些既虛且實又不可言說之處,總是微妙地化為感覺長留心中。

當我開始把自己的攝影作品結集成書,並以此為人生志業,難免有時會陷入迷惘,每次我都會想起這本書,它以一個概念展開,僅此而終,並無其他。書之為書,該是不設紙材、頁數、裝幀方法的形式限制,不追求大量印製,不被售價影響設計,而單純只是作者一心一意實現自己心中的書。

仰望天空,假如相信書的存在價值,答案會宛如雪山般堅定伸向遠方。

Between these sixteen pages, therein lies a perfect harmony of elements of photography: light and darkness, monochrome and colour, stillness and movement, surface and essence. Straddling the actual and the virtual, to embrace Takashi Homma’s fades and texture is like holding onto a dream, half-remembered.

Since making it my life’s work to collate my photographs into books, occasionally, I still feel lost. I’d think of “OUR MOUNTAIN”: it begins with a notion and ends with a notion. That’s the way books should be – not confined by paper, length and design, nor seduced by mass production and business models. Books, in essence, are works of dream.

If you believe in the value of books, look up and you’ll see a snow-capped mountain range standing tall and defiant – like faith.