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Return To The City

Leica Street Photography Festival

Words / Elva Pang
Translation / Iris Heung

生活在真相離我們愈來愈遠的年代,我們如何尋找世界真實的面相?或許把身處的城市以攝影的方式記錄下來,讓光影與思緒重疊,能重組城市裡一幀幀的人文風景。

早前於上海舉行的首個Leica街頭攝影節,展出了英國的街頭攝影大師Alan Schaller、日本攝影師野口晉(Shin Noguchi)、中國攝影師劉濤,以及三位中國新生代攝影師朱墨、湯庭和DJ Forget等,記載不同時代的街頭文化,透過鏡頭呈現生活裡的夢幻與真實,以及對美好生活的追求。

Living in a time where truths have become increasingly harder to come by, how do we actively get closer to reality? Perhaps by documenting our own city through the art of photography, we can use image representations to reconstruct the cultural landscapes of cities?

At the first Leica Street Photography Festival launched earlier in Shanghai, works from a panel of street photography masters are showcased, including the London-based Street photographer Alan Schaller, Shin Noguchi from Japan, Tao Liu from China and three other contemporary Chinese photographers Zhu Mo, Tang Ting and DJ Forget. Through their lens, both the fantasy and reality in our daily life are captured, which in turn provides important image records of the street cultures in different epochs, offering a good glimpse of how people express themselves in the pursuit of their ideal life.

五年前才投身攝影界的Alan Schaller,創立了國際街拍組織的Street Photography International,短短數年已廣為人認識,全因為作品有一股强烈的感染力,令人一見難忘。他認為黑白攝影能排除色彩的干擾,照片更能專注在線條、光影和人物之上。在《大都會》系列中,強烈的光影對比表現出超現實主義和幾何元素,當中的戲劇感與張力把目光牢牢地鎖住,讓人不禁屏息靜氣。 Schaller拍下人們在城市裡不斷地探索,照片滲透出城市獨有的孤寂感。

Alan Schaller only threw himself into the photography field 5 years ago, but the collective he founded — Street Photography International — has already garnered widespread attention and interest. Its quick success is mainly attributed to the captivating power of the works, which can leave a lasting impression. Schaller believes black and white photography is free of the interference of colors and can better draw viewers’ focus onto the image composition, light and shade, as well as the objects themselves. In the Metropolis series, the stark contrast of light and shade has revealed a kind of geometric surrealism. The dramatic composition has created a tension that is mesmerizing enough to hold one’s breath. Under Schaller’s lens, people in the city seem to be continually on a quest. There is an underlying mood of isolation in the pictures. 

與Schaller相反,日本攝影師野口晉的作品予人既隨意又溫馨的感覺,很多時候都流露著一份幽默感。對他來說,街頭就是生活,隨意地拍下生活的點滴,記錄真實的一瞬間,而從來不追求完美的影像。他的作品經常出現居住地鎌倉和經常往來的東京、家中的三個女兒和柴犬。照片反映在野口晉的眼中,美好生活是由一個個平凡又充滿趣味的當下所組成的。

Quite contrary to Schaller, the Japanese photographer Shin Noguchi produces works that are more laid back and intimate, even humorous at times. To him, the streets are the stage to represent everyday life. To capture a frame of life is a record of reality. He is never really a perfectionist when it comes to acquiring the “ideal” image. He mostly captures scenes in his own city Kamakura and Tokyo, where he frequently commutes to. The three daughters and the Shiba dog he has at home are also regular objects under his lens. To Noguchi, sweet life is simply a collection of many ordinary but delightful moments, which are exactly reflected by his photographs.

另一體現生活趣味的作品有中國年輕攝影師劉濤樸實幽默的攝影作品,他是一名合肥供水集團的員工,因工作關係經常穿梭於合肥的街頭巷尾,他拿起相機拍下本地菜市場、雜貨店和民居,並與他敏銳的幽默感交織,尋常中帶點怪異,折射出樸實的市井人生裡獨特的美好和溫暖。

Similarly, the young Chinese photographer Tao Liu present witty images which poke fun at contemporary issues in China. Working as a water-meter reader for the Hefei Water Supply Company, he has to spend his day navigating through the streets of Hefei to record businesses’ water usage. Armed with a camera, he captures people’s lives in the local markets, grocery stores, and residential areas. His sharp eyes on details combined with a wicked sense of humor have managed to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary. Through his lens, some elements of intimate charm among the most ordinary people are enlarged and represented.

城市裡的街頭巷尾是了解城市和人文生活的窗口,把它們拼湊起來,呈現出最真實的生活面貌,同時為枯燥平凡的生活帶來想像,重回攝影的本質。

The streets always provide the best platform to understand the city, its people, and its culture. To depict the actual faces of people’s real lives, and bring imagination to our mundane everyday life – isn’t this the essence of photography after all?