In an impressive display of athleticism, the dancer in frame hoists himself up with a one-armed handstand, but something doesn’t feel quite right—perhaps it’s the extra set of legs stretched out under him or the extra arm jutting out of his ribcage, all of which make him appear more arachnid than human. This bizarre image is one of many from B-Boy Monsters, a series of unconventional breakdancer portraits by New York-based photographer Johnny Tang.
照片里的舞者单臂倒立撑起整个身体，展现出惊人的力量与运动精神。但整幅画面好像哪里不对 —— 定睛一看，原来他们都多出了三头六臂，呈现出一副可以飞檐走壁、神乎其技的模样。这些风格怪异的照片来自纽约摄影师 Johnny Tang 拍摄的《B-Boy Monsters》系列，为我们呈现了多组街头舞者的肖像。
Breakdancing—better known as breaking or b-boying by scene insiders—has been Tang’s passion for nearly twenty years. The fierce competitive spirit, sense of community, and how it marries creative expression with athletic prowess are all part of its enduring allure.
“Breakdance has been able to grow into a massively diverse, worldwide community because of the competitive social aspect of it,” Tang explains. “People only care about your skills. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, or what you look like. The only thing that matters is what you’re contributing.” An eagerness to contribute to breakdancing culture in his own way is what ultimately gave Tang the idea for this project.
霹雳舞（Breakdancing），或被称为 Breaking 或 B-boying，最早从 B-boy 社区的街头暗号逐渐影响至整个舞蹈界， 也被认为是嘻哈文化的重要组成部分之一。Johnny 喜欢霹雳舞已接近 20 多年的时间，在他看来，霹雳舞不仅是一种舞蹈形式，还是竞争和社区精神的体现，更是高超的运动神经与创意相结合…….这些都是霹雳舞的魅力所在。
Johnny 说：“霹雳舞场景如今之所以在全球呈现出非常多元的样子，正是因为社区之间强烈的竞争感。不管你来自哪里，或看起来是好是坏，人们只关心你水平如何。唯一重要的，是你在这个圈子的付出。” Johnny 渴望自己能为霹雳舞圈子出一份力，也是他最终选择完成这一组系列摄影的原因。
Even though style, aesthetics, and innovation have always been central to b-boy culture, the creativity required of dancers is often underestimated. Tang’s series looks to change these misconceptions and demonstrate the expressive range of the human form. The participating dancers, shot across Boston and New York, were given free rein to show off their arsenal of original moves in front of his camera.
The project is, in a way, also a visualization of each dancer’s creative process. “More often than not, for a dancer to come up with a signature move, they try a lot of variants,” he explains. “The image I create at the end often just shows all of these variations at once.”
风格、美感和创新是 B-boy 文化的核心，Johnny 则希望通过肢体的各种形态，传达常被人们忽视的创意一面。这组照片的拍摄过程跨越纽约与波士顿，参与拍摄的舞者在镜头前大显身手，炫耀各自的招牌动作。
When Tang first began the project, he found inspiration in an unlikely place. “My family isn’t particularly religious, but being Asian, Buddhism has always been a part of my cultural identity,” he says. “I remembered a story about the Thousand-armed Guanyin, which my mother told me when I was a child. Its many arms signified the different powers it possessed. With this story in mind, I began imagining what type of dance moves would be possible with multiple limbs. These daydreams ended up becoming a central motif of the project.”
The influence of the Thousand-Armed Guanyin is hard to miss. In the series, Tang revisits the multi-exposure technique that he first experimented with in World of One to attach multiple sets of legs and arms to each dancer. The resulting composites are surreal, evoking imagery of the omnipotent deity while distilling the energy, personality, and finesse required of the sport into single snapshots.
千手观音的故事对整个系列的影响不可小觑。为了达到三头六臂的效果，Johnny 尝试了多重曝光的技巧，把繁复的拳脚功夫的通过重曝呈现在舞者身上，充满了超现实之感。而之前，他的《World of One》系列作品也用过同样的手法。这样的创作方式，不但会令你联想到千手观音的古老意象，又将霹雳舞所蕴含的活力、个性和技巧浓缩在一张照片上。
Tang believes that his early exposure to breakdancing has molded him into the person he is today, and the project is his way of showing appreciation to the sport that’s helped him develop the strong work ethic that he now applies to every endeavor in life. “When I nailed my first power move, the sense of accomplishment was indescribable,” he recalls. “It was the first time in my life I had worked really hard for something and see It pay off. It’s a feeling I’ve been chasing ever since.”
Johnny 认为，霹雳舞塑造了他强烈的个性，并希望将自己对舞蹈的热爱融入这个项目中。同时，霹雳舞又培养了强烈的职业道德精神，影响着生活的方方面面。他回忆说：“当我用快门按下第一个大地板动作（power move）时，那种成就感无法用语言来形容。这是我人生中第一次真正为某件事努力，并且看到了成果。那种感觉是我在日后一直所追逐的。”