00-1 關於攝影 關於人  

1.
一項諷刺的事實是,不論我多麼自戀,卻永遠無緣「直接觀看」自己的臉孔。

早前的人們借助靜止的水面、別人的瞳仁、朦朧的金屬面反射來觀看自己,現在我們有了清晰的水銀鏡子。攝影術的發明無疑幫了大忙,經過漫長的歲月,人類終於有幸借助科學儀器的幫忙,更進一步的觀察自己;終於可以看見自己「正面直視前方」之外的表情和角度,以及我在過去歷史中的形貌。但是不管怎樣,我們仍無法突破只能間接觀看自己的限制,此一教人尷尬的現實顯示出一項真理,即人只是一相對性的存在,而非什麼自立自法的主體。

人是什麼?我是誰?總說不清楚,我只是相對於另一時空、另一人、另一物種、另一存有的存有。

但正是這一相對性而間接的觀看(不管是借助一面鏡子還是一張相片),此對現代人來說似乎再普通不過的尋常經驗,卻蘊含了魅惑的魔力。當我注視著一張「我」的相片,意味此時「我正觀看著我自己」,彷如靈魂出竅、瀕死的經驗,或在夢中的景象;我乃是站在超時空的道口,相片裡的那人既熟悉又陌生,那人是我,那人卻不是真的我;即便是被凍結了的酣暢笑容,亦飽含哀傷的成份。在一張相片裡的那人,或站;或坐;或臥;或奔跑;或跳躍半空中;或揮動雙手;或摟著他(我)的情人、他(我)的伙伴、他(我)的兄弟姊妹、他(我)的爹娘、他(我)的兒女;牽著狗;抱著貓;在自家中;在餐桌上;在郊區;在街市;在校園;在工作場;在艾菲爾鐵塔前;在京都櫻花樹下;戴著方帽於畢業典禮上;在喜宴中舉杯交皝;剛從護士手中接過他(我)才出世的兒⋯。他(我),在相片中, 像一只蝴蝶標本一樣死著,卻得以永保持如許幸福的樣態;英挺、嬌俏、驕傲的、滿足的,而現實中,我猶慘然猥瑣的活著,凝視著相片,兩眼茫茫⋯。

於是,活著的人不禁興起哀嘆;但願我是在相片裡死著

 

2.
但一張呈顯某人肖像的照片,也只能是他曾經存在的証物,而物質性的血肉,甚至不足以解釋生命、精神與靈魂,那麼物質與精神、生命、靈魂的關係又如何?物質與靈魂是二元對立的嗎?

 

就某種角度觀察,攝影確實與古老的煉金術,以及關在某個昏暗陰森的房間內,藉著已死之人的遺物、咒語和水晶球以召喚死者亡靈的巫術頗有相似之處。那些曾經待在漆黑的暗房裡。僅僅藉助微弱腥紅的安全燈光作業的相片沖印工作者,當他把在放大機上曝光之後的相紙浸泡在盛滿化學顯影液的盆子中,不多時,相紙上銀鹽粒子隨顯影液所促發的化學變化,而逐漸呈顯出一張人的臉孔⋯,這神秘的一幕,不是現代科學的召魂術或煉金術又是什麼?而經過顯影而被最後一道定影程序固定下來的清晰影像,不正是承載了上帝形象的亞當嗎?

 

3.
只是隨著攝影日新月異的發展,此現代召魂術的神秘面紗也隨之一層層剝落。早前一年全家上一次照相館,以取得難能可貴的一幅全家福相片的儀式經驗,已經被一捲三十六張的廉價軟片、一小時快速沖印店,以至一張可容納成百上千影像的記憶卡所取代。若說上帝以其自身的形像造人,因而使人負載上帝的形像,則這些大量的科技影像所呈現出來的,除了現代人對生命的漫不經心,剩下來的就只是一毀損、稀薄的上帝形像。

其實不但是在玩票性質的「業餘攝影界」,在商業廣告攝影、報導新聞攝影、自然旅遊攝影、或純(藝術)攝影的領域,我們同樣看見上帝形象被稀釋、被扭曲、被破壞、被逐出的事實;相對於亞當夏娃冒瀆了上帝,在犯罪墮落之後被逐出伊甸園,現代人也從自己所發明所營造的影像世界中,硬是不客氣的把上帝趕了出去。於焉在那一冊冊印刷精美,裝禎美侖美奐的攝影集裡,那在天主教神學中被稱為「奧跡」的「神的形像」,已逐漸褪色、扭曲。

 

 

4.
任何一張照片絕非純然的客觀,你所相信的決定了你能看見什麼。國家地裡雜誌的攝影者看見的是「人乃是環境的產物」,報社記者看見的是「人是政治、經濟、社會性的動物」;科學雜誌主張「人是複雜的生化機器」;而透過聖經的啟示,我相信「人是一具有永恒意識的有限存有」,他活在有限的時空、日漸頹敗的肉身與對永恒的鄉愁之中。

一張照片因此不單是對過去懷舊的憂鬱物件,也是承載對不可知的未來,對永恒的焦慮的物件。而攝影也因此可以視之為一種類似宗教的行為,是一種與時間、與有限性抗衡的努力,攸關意義的尋索與攫取,即便這種努力註定是要失敗的,卻仍然可以是動人的。

 

5.
攝影是我服事上帝之餘一點小小的興趣,藉以表達我為之生為之死的信仰觀照。微塵聖像這一系列肖像逾越了客觀紀錄的層次,而或者允以稱之為「靈魂的肖像」或「單幅戲劇」,建立在基督教人類學的基礎上。

 

按著此一人觀所反映出來的人,不是浩瀚宇宙中一連串盲目的偶然性所衍生的意外、不是裸猿、不是欲望的主體、文化動物;卻是物質與神靈的揉合,是被賦予永恆意識的有限存有。

 

雖然人所承載的神性形象,許多的時候不是以神聖,卻是以對有限的焦慮,甚至是以其反面,以背逆神的魔性被彰顯出來。

這一系列肖像同時反映出,我對時間與人類歷史的興趣;但基督教的時間與歷史觀,既不是一個循環不已的封閉宇宙,也非盲目隨機的演化;卻以一種緩慢而隱晦的方式,啟示著上帝的臨在。

 

 

 

00-2 關於攝影 關於人  

1.
One irony in life is no matter how narcissistic people get, no one will ever have a chance to “directly see” their own faces. 

In the past, people saw their faces by using standing water, other people’s pupils, and the foggy flat surface of metals. With help of advancing technology, people can finally see what their face looks like when they are not just “looking straight forward.” But no matter how far the modern technology evolves, we still can’t no see our faces without a medium. This irony highlights one truth – the existence of human being is all relative, and not an entity with complete self-autonomy.

What is man? Who am I? There has never been a clear answer on this issue. My existence is relative to another dimension, another person, another object.

To look at oneself through a medium or a conduit is a very mundane experience for people in this day and age, but the experience is still magical. When I look at a picture of me, it means I am looking at myself. It feels like a near-death out-of-body experience or a scene from a dream. It is like I am standing at the entrance of a time warp, looking at the man in the picture who is both familiar yet estranged. That man is me, but that man is also not me. In pictures, all my movements and experiences are captured and frozen in time. The times I smiled, waved my hands, held my lovers, hugged my parents, walked the dog, cuddled with my cat; at home, at dinner table, out in the suburb, inside the city, on school campus, at work, in front of the Eiffel Tower, under the cherry blossoms in Kyoto, giving a toast at my wedding, and holding my newborn baby…the man in the picture (me), is like a collection of butterfly specimen-- lifeless yet images of happiness, pride, and content will remain forever alive. Meanwhile, in real life, I continue to live, albeit in distress. All I can do is gaze at these pictures with my cloudy eyes and exclaim, “I wish I could have died that way…..”

 

2.
But a portrait of a person is also a proof of his or her existence. A man’s flesh is an insufficient explanation for life, spirit, and soul, which then begs the question, what is the relationship between all three and is the dichotomy of flesh and soul means the two will forever be diametrically opposite of each other? 

From a certain perspective, photography shares many traits with ancient alchemy. In alchemy, one takes the relics of a dead individual and a crystal ball, goes to a dark room and chants whatever incantation needed to make something come alive. For photographers, they also go into a dark room and use a mixture of chemicals to turn intangible memories into something tangible and lasting. The product of this process is the creation of an image. Come to think of it, this is not so different from how God created Adam in His own image.

 

3.
With the help of modern technology, the mystery of photography is slowly being unraveled and such revelation has also diminished man’s value in images. In the past, having a family portrait taken at a studio was some sort of a ceremonial gesture. But now, the convenience of these mega-sized memory cards and digital cameras that can store thousands of pictures at once, have replaced the practice of waiting for films to be developed at a store. As the value on image creation fades, so is the importance that man places on God. When people start taking life lightly, what we have left is a frail and damaged image in the likeness of God.

Such phenomenon is seen across all aspects of photography in which we see God image being diluted, twisted, destroyed, or even ousted from life. This trend is like the exile of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after they offended the Father. In modern time, people have also driven God away.

 

4.
No pictures you see will ever be completely objective. What you believe determines what you see. A picture is not just a snapshot of what took place, it represents the man’s anxiety of an unpredictable future. Through the revelations of the Bible, I believe that while humans are fallible and temporary, all man still has a strong yearning for eternity.

This pursuit for eternity is like people’s attempt to preserve and freeze a certain moment in time through images. Although such attempt will only result in failure, the process of trying to make time stands still is still enticing.

 

5.
Photography is my hobby which I use to express the religion that I live and die for. The “Tiny Dust” series is more than a recording of images, but rather a collection of portraits of the “human soul” or “single-frame dramas” based on the Christian humanity.  It means all the people featured in the collection are not random accidents of the universe or the results of evolution of the primates. They are not the embodiment of desires or the products of cultures. Rather, they are the unions of physical matters and the Holy Spirit.

Although man bears the image of God, often times the face that the world sees is a demonic mixture of angst and anxiety. This collection not only represents my keen interests in time and human history, but also what time and history means in the Christianity. It is also a demonstration that human existence is not a result of indiscriminate accidents in an enclosed universe, or a random evolution, but a slow and steadfast way to reveal that God is alive.

00 被光照的微塵  

 

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