All posts by yixuan

On Femininity & Beauty 你不知道你有多美

March 5, 2018 2018年3月5日
From Tseng Yen Lan's NO FACE series. / 来自《NO FACE》系列

The true beauty of a woman can only be fully appreciated through the eyes of another woman; this is the notion that forms the basis of photographer Tseng Yen Lan‘s work. Tseng is a Taiwanese photographer whose journey with photography began at the young age of 16 when she received a camera from her mother as a birthday gift. Since then, she’s devoted herself to the medium, upholding an earnest mission to capture the beauty of the female form in its truest state. By photographing her subjects without makeup and focusing on their natural qualities, Tseng manages to immortalize the ephemeral beauty of feminine youth.


某种女性的美,是只能用另一双女性的眼睛才发现得了。就像台湾摄影师 Tseng Yen Lan(曾筵岚) 16 岁生日时,从母亲那里得来第一台相机那一刻起,一直以来致力于捕捉的,不过是某个女子生命中的一个瞬间,不用特地补妆,她拍的就是那样一个平凡、却耀眼的女子。

From Tseng Yen Lan's LADY OF LAKE series. / 来自《LADY OF LAKE》系列
From Tseng Yen Lan's LADY OF LAKE series. / 来自《LADY OF LAKE》系列
From Tseng Yen Lan's LADY OF LAKE series. / 来自《LADY OF LAKE》系列

Tseng sees her female-focused works as a reflection of her own femininity. It’s a projection of her own ideals of beauty and what it means to be a woman. It’s an examination of what it truly means to be “beautiful” in a society that’s been historically patriarchal driven, with female beauty often gauged through a male gaze. Tseng’s photography aims to answer questions of “What is beauty?” “Whose sets the standards for beauty?” and “Is there a unique sense beauty that can be inherently found in everyone?”


“我记得我在网路上第一个发佈的作品是我表姐的裸体。” Tseng Yen Lan 说。她镜头下的主角几乎都是女性,这样的选题出自她同样身为女性的切身感受,即无论外表上还是思想上,从小到大女性生活在世界和社会所架设的男权价值观之下。究竟什麽才是美丽,是需要符合多数人的美感,还是每一个人身上都有难以取代的独特的美?她用摄影来回答这个问题。

From Tseng Yen Lan's You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are series. / 来自《You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are》系列
From Tseng Yen Lan's You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are series. / 来自《You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are》系列
From Tseng Yen Lan's You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are series. / 来自《You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are》系列

You Don’t Know How Beautiful You Are is a photo series by Tseng that takes a critical look at these concepts. Unlike many of her other personal projects, she shot this series with a professional model. “Before I got to know her, I knew that most of the commercial work she was engaged for was for menswear. This made me wonder: Was she packaged up and defined as a particular character because of her appearance? I wanted to use my photos to shatter these preconceptions associated with her looks.”


《You Don’t Know How Beautiful You Are》(你不知道你有多美)这组在海边拍摄的作品是 Tseng Yen Lan 依照模特儿去创作的。“在还没认识这个模特儿之前,她接到的拍摄工作大多数是男性造型,这让我不禁怀疑,她是否因为外表而被包装和定义成一个特定的角色。我想用拍照来打破这个莫名的框架。”

From Tseng Yen Lan's You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are series. / 来自《You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are》系列
From Tseng Yen Lan's You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are series. / 来自《You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are》系列
From Tseng Yen Lan's You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are series. / 来自《You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are》系列
From Tseng Yen Lan's You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are series. / 来自《You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are》系列

In other projects, Tseng will often use nudity to discuss femininity. To her, nudity represents empowerment; it signifies confidence and a validation of self. These thematics are linked to her own experiences as a child. At a young age, Tseng was often bullied by her male peers, which resulted in a period where she struggled with body image issues and a lack of confidence.


Tseng Yen Lan 在其他摄影项目中,还常拍裸体的女性。原因是裸体在她眼中一直都是女性突破自我的象征,小时候曾经因为外表及个性强悍被男同学欺负,她对于自己和身体感到厌恶和不信任。

From Tseng Yen Lan's POLAROID IN THE ROOM series. / 来自《POLAROID IN THE ROOM》系列
From Tseng Yen Lan's POLAROID IN THE ROOM series. / 来自《POLAROID IN THE ROOM》系列
From Tseng Yen Lan's POLAROID IN THE ROOM series. / 来自《POLAROID IN THE ROOM》系列

“When I met these girls who were confident and brave enough to bare themselves in full in front of the camera, I was inspired and encouraged,” Tseng shares. “I continue to shoot women because I want to celebrate their confidence.”


她说:“因此当我看到这些很有自信、勇于面对镜头展现自我的女生时,给了我很深的感触跟回馈。为了捕捉这样自信的她们,是我持续拍摄女性的原因。”

From Tseng Yen Lan's POLAROID IN THE ROOM series. / 来自《POLAROID IN THE ROOM》系列
From Tseng Yen Lan's POLAROID IN THE ROOM series. / 来自《POLAROID IN THE ROOM》系列

Aside from her regular photos, Tseng is also an avid Polaroid shooter. The appeal lies in the medium’s instantaneous nature and the necessity for precision, seeing as how postproduction isn’t an option when it comes to Polaroids. It’s a medium that she feels to be in tune with her approach of capturing subjects just as they are. “In the past, I used Polaroids just to practice my photography. When I’m on a real shoot, Id play around with a Polaroid to build rapport with the models. But after time, I felt more comfortable with it than any other cameras. This was a creative breakthrough for me. A good way to describe it might be to compare it with taking snaps on a cell phone camera – the resulting shots are much more organic and personal.”


Tseng Yen Lan 的作品中经常看到拍立得。拍立得是即刻的一次性创作,不能修图,也不能事先设定光影效果,但这样的媒材却可以更仔细、细腻的捕捉到女性当下的样子,这种特性与她的创作理念十分契合。“过去拍立得只是我练习拍照的工具,工作时我喜欢先用拍立得来建立跟模特儿的默契,但后来渐渐比任何相机都还习惯它,这让我在创作上有很大的转变。要形容的话,拍立得就像我的手机,拥有更多个人和私密的情感。”

From Tseng Yen Lan's POLAROID IN THE ROOM series. / 来自《POLAROID IN THE ROOM》系列

Website: www.tsengyenlan.com
Instagram: @_tsengyenlan

 

Contributor: Yang Yixuan


网站www.tsengyenlan.com
Instagram@_tsengyenlan

 

供稿人: Yang Yixuan

Crossing the River 过江

February 28, 2018 2018年2月28日

Situated in the Liaoning province, Dandong is China’s largest border city. It sits along the banks of the Yalu River, a waterway that acts as a natural border between China and North Korea. Zhou Yue, a photographer born and raised in Dandong, found himself insatiably curious about North Korea, a country that was so close in proximity yet so utterly unfamiliar to him. This led Zhou to venture across the border and shoot the photo series Crossing the River. Equipped with multiple cameras, a cell phone, and a film camera (which would be less likely to be inspected and confiscated), Zhou photographed the series over three separate trips.


周越,来自东北丹东,目前在台湾就读研究所的摄影师。《过江》的江指的是鸭绿江,鸭绿江所流经过的城市丹东,是中国最大的边境城市,而河的对岸就是朝鲜的领土,一个总是让外人看不清楚的神秘国度。周越带着多台相机、手机、和一台为了能躲避检查的底片相机,三度前往朝鲜拍摄,将眼前所见的景象集结成《过江》这一系列作品。

“It’s something that I had to photograph. It was a story I just had to tell,” Zhou tells us.

Having lived in Dandong since he was a child, he often brushed shoulders with the city’s North Korean population, whether in restaurants or on the street. However, Zhou found that it was extremely difficult to communicate with the North Koreans who were permitted in his city. Musing over his interactions with North Korean visitors over the years, Zhou ponders, “What kind of a weakness needs to be hidden away so deeply, that even a simple ‘hello’ can be interpreted as a severe transgression?”

To find answers, he began planning his visit. Even though North Korea was directly across the river from Dandong, Zhou was not able to enter directly – instead, he had to register as part of a tour group to set foot inside of the country. His tour group would be observed by two guides at all times, making it difficult for Zhou to photograph freely.

“Because almost all of the photographs shot in North Korea are inspected, I brought along a film camera, so that my film photographs would be more difficult to inspect,” he shares. “I couldn’t take photographs too conspicuously, and I often needed to stray away slightly or walk slower than my tour group in order to make the most out of my time there.”


这是周越“不得不拍、不得不讲的故事” 。因为从小在丹东长大,朝鲜人民对周越来说并不陌生,可能就坐在面馆餐桌的对面,也可能在路上就擦身而过。对于与这样一个早已习以为常的民族一起生活,当想进一步了解他们的时候,却发现是如此困难。“到底是什么样脆弱的东西需要这样严密地看管,连正常打个招呼都像是碰触到禁忌一般严重。”

这样的好奇心驱使他前往拍摄朝鲜。因为无法直接经由边境直接进入,即使就近在咫尺,周越还是只能透过旅行团的方式与其他人一起入境。随时都有两位督导员跟着团员行动,这使他的拍摄任务更加困难,“基本上在朝鲜拍的东西都要被检查,但因为我用的是底片相机,比较可以顺利躲过检查。也不能太大方的拍摄,所以我经常都是偷偷脱队或走得慢一些,来争取拍照的时间。”

Crossing the River has more of a focus on propaganda rather than the country of North Korea as a whole,” Zhou explains. “Everywhere you looked, there were huge slogans, murals, and statues that towered in contrast to human scale. According to my understanding, North Korea is the only kind of country in the world that still disseminates information in this way, and there’s not much diversity of information in the country. Because of this, it was interesting for me to document the relationship between the country’s propaganda and its people.”


“我在《过江》里最想讨论的其实并不是朝鲜,而是‘媒介’。路上随处可见各种巨大的标语、壁画、雕塑等等,它们与人比例上的落差。在我认知的世界中,只有朝鲜还在用这样纯粹物理的手法做宣传,没有过多的杂讯,因此这里很便于我纪录媒介和人之间的关系。”

It was a purposeful decision to present Crossing the River in black and white. Zhou felt the series would be best displayed in grayscale as to express a similar sense of detachment from reality that he had experienced while in North Korea. The black and white also makes it difficult to identify when the series was actually shot, lending the images a feeling of timelessness.

In mainstream media, North Korea is often presented through a lens of bias, often being the subject of ridicule or vilification. Zhou hopes that his work can maintain a detached objectivity, which is why many of his images are composed in a straightforward manner with a wide angle – similar to the perspective of a surveillance camera. “I just want to put things on display,” he explains of his photojournalistic approach. “I don’t want to add my own ideas or interpretation. Not only for Crossing the River, but for all of my works.”


影像之所以使用黑白处理,是因为彩色还是太接近真实,黑白影像稍微能抽离一点,不受时间上的扰乱。虽说世人是用异样的眼光在看待朝鲜,说严重点就是妖魔化,在媒体报导的影响下怀抱偏见,但周越表示他不希望自己成为那样媒体的其一。他希望能尽量以冷静客观的视角出发,因此作品都是方正的、远观的,就像是模拟监视器的角度。“我只想去呈现,而不是特意加上意思的表述。不光是《过江》,我也是这样努力的去做每一件作品。”

Contributor: Yang Yixuan
Image Courtesy of Zhou Yue

 


供稿人: Yang Yixuan
图片由周越提供

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