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Richard Rothman · 摄影师

2015年古根汉基金奖(Guggenheim Fellowship)获得者,2016年MacDowell Colony及Light Work入驻艺术家。他的作品被收录于现代艺术博物馆(Museum of Modern Art),法国国家图书馆(theBibliothèque Nationale de France),布鲁克林博物馆(The Brooklyn Museum), 耶鲁大学美术馆(Yale University Art Gallery)。

2011年,由Nazraeli Press出版的摄影集《Redwood Saw》被多家媒体评选为年度最佳摄影书之一。现居纽约,任教于国际摄影中心及纽约视觉艺术学院。

Richard Rothman · Photographer

2015 Guggenheim Fellow, 2016 artist-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony and Light Work. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), the Biblithèque National de France, The Brooklyn Museum, Yale University Art Gallery.

Richard Rothman’s monograph RedWood Saw, published by Nazraeli Press, was listed in numerous “best photography books” articles in 2011. He is currently living in New York City and a faculty at the International Center of Photography and the School of Visual Arts.

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见Richard的第一面,就知道他是位有些固执的老头儿。朋友家的演奏会结束,每个人都不由地忙着结识新朋友,你大概也能想象那种一派热闹的场面——互不相识的一撮人为了最短时间内信息最大化,热络之中总是免不了眉飞色舞。就唯独Richard,也寒暄,也附和,但镜片背后的眼神坚定,目光从不随着谈话内容的起伏闪烁,在一来一回里牢牢掌控着对话的节奏。

First encountered with Richard, one could sense the stubbornness within his character. After the concert at a friend’s house, everyone was busy meeting and greeting some new friends--- one of the common social occasions you may be familiar with, where a group of strangers make as much social interactions as possible in the shortest time. Among the handshaking, laughing, and talking, Richard nodded and smiled, comfortably keeping those small conversations in his pace, instead of the other way around. Behind the light brown glasses were a pair of firm eyes.

这种很容易让人误会成是天生内向的坚持,从他还是个小孩子时就显露苗头了。Richard五岁时,父亲离开了家,母亲改嫁以后把他带进了一所犹太教小学,在这儿,除了圣经和信仰,知识并不是最紧要的。曾经有一次,Richard拿着一本介绍化石的插画书问拉比(Rabbi, 犹太人里的学者阶层)为何圣经上的地球只有六千年的历史,拉比反问他这本书的出版日期是什么时候,然后掏出一本圣经,义正言辞地呵斥道:“你知道这本书什么时候就有了吗?两千年以前!”

This calmness, which could be easily misinterpreted by people as a sign of Richard’s natural introversion, reflects the independence and resiliency that engrained in Richard since he was little. When Richard was five, his father left the family. Richard’s mother remarried and sent him to a Jewish day school, where the Hebrew Bible and religion always came before the knowledges. Richard once came to a rabbi (Jewish Scholar) with a picture book about fossils and asked why the world in Bible is only six-thousand-years old. Instead of answering the question, the rabbi asked Richard when that book was printed, and then brought out a bible and yelled at him, “so do you have any idea how old Bible is? Two thousand years ago!”  

自那天之后,Richard说什么也再不肯去教会小学,直到说服母亲把他送进公立学校。拒绝接受任何一种强加于人的思想信仰甚至选择,大概是他骨子里带来的反抗。

Since that day, Richard refused to attend religious school until his mother sent him to a public school. This kind of rebellion to an enforced belief, idea or choice is originated from the character of toughness that has always been embedded in him.

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说起来或许没人会相信,Richard是在六岁时就决心要做和图像相关的事情。这种坚信始于他对绘画的热爱和天赋,从小他脑子里只有一件事:要画得像米开朗琪罗那么好,也确实真的画得很好而在老师的赞扬声中长大。直到机缘巧合的一天,他看到摄影师Richard Avedon的一组记录父亲从生病到去世的黑白肖像展,从展厅出来那一刻,他便决心要成为一名摄影师——这种极具隐忍的冲击力的艺术表达,实在太让他着迷了。

It may seem hard to believe, but Richard determined to do something related to images in the future at only age of six. His enthusiasm and natural talent of painting laid the foundation for this determination. Since Richard was a child, he kept one thing in mind: he would draw as good as Michelangelo did. He was indeed an extraordinary young student who grew up with his teachers’ compliments. Up until one day Richard encountered a series of photo created by photographer Richard Avedon that captured the images of his father since getting ill to the moment leaving the world. This exhibition where the silent power was conveyed through mere visual images was fascinating to young Richard, who then made up his mind of being a photographer.  

从想成为到真正成为摄影师的二十年间,纽约给足了Richard养分,也逐渐让他开始感到厌倦。这个城市带给他的联结太多太密,一下子跳出来看看周遭的时候,才发现自己好像从来没有真正地留意过身边的世界。从公寓楼大厅里的花坛开始,到花两年时间在纽约枢纽的每一站停下来细细观察,再到飞到3000英里以外的加州小镇Redwood,一场看似漫无目的游荡正式拉开帷幕。

From when the dream started to actually become a serious photographer, Richard was nourished by New York City, where also eventually made him tired. As he got chance jumping out of chaos and ceaselessness of the city, he came to realize his lack of attention paid to the world in his life. Starting from looking at the flowers in the apartment building, to spending two years observing every transportation hub of the city, and flying to the small town Redwood 3000 miles away from California, Richard began an artist pilgrimage with no one ultimate purpose.

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这个小镇上的故事最终变成了一本《Redwood Saw》,2011年曾被多家媒体评选为年度最佳摄影集。和他即将发布的新书《Town of C.》主体类似,拍摄地点都是在一个当地人相互熟识的小镇。你不难看出Richard坚持用相机筛选出的纯粹——有美好青涩消极沮丧的人间百态,有茂盛青葱荒芜悲凉的草木房屋。在城市里生活久了的人,对这种未经过人工整理美化的原始美感,会逐渐从接受无能,到最后其实深感无力面对。

Richard turned the stories at Redwood into a monograph Redwood Saw, the photographic monograph viewed as one of the best of 2011 by several medias. Similar to his upcoming book Town of C. the photos were all taken at a town familiar to the locals. It is not hard for one to sense the pureness of the world that Richard captured with his camera:  there are the wonderfulness, innocence, depression and grievance that humanity experiences; there are grass and trees in verdant green; there are buildings and houses abandoned and decaying… For one who has lived an urban life for too long, such raw beauty could lead confusion and rejection at first, but eventually its power could be overwhelming.  

之所以选择小镇,于Richard而言拥有更深层次的原因:小镇上的每个人、每段生活和每一片风景对美国来说是微缩景观一般的存在,相比较于庞大复杂的宏观表达,远不及他们眼神里微妙的变化讲述得更多。

There is more complicated reason that Richard choosing a small town as his subject: each individual in the town, every piece of life as well as the landscape is a miniature of the entire nation. The subtle change in one person’s eye could even convey much more messages comparing to an abstract expression on a much broader scope.

Richard 《Town of C.》作品 copyright© by Richard Rothman

Q&A

Q=NOISÉ / A=Richard Rothman

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Q: 你曾经提到自己很享受独处,这与你的摄影方式相互有什么影响吗?

Q: You mentioned that you enjoyed being alone, how is it may relate to the way you do photography?

A:我想独处是在纽约时间久了之后你必须要学会的一件事情,因为在这个城市里生活,你好像从来不会一个人。作为一名摄影师,享受独处也是必须的,因为我经常是一个人出去拍照,也很难去和别人一起完成一张作品。完成拍摄后你往往还要在电脑前、暗房里进行十几个小时的后期处理,这些时间也通常是我一个人。作为(风光)摄影师,如果你不喜欢独处,那真的很不幸。

A: Solitude is something that, after you’ve been in New York City for a long time, you start to long for because you are almost never alone in the city. I think you have to enjoy being alone as a photographer. The kind of photography I do, besides the portraits, it is always about being alone. I find it is very hard or almost impossible to take pictures with other people around, because I need to really focus and think and look. And you spend much more time on post-processing after taking pictures, for example maybe every hour you spend out shooting pictures, you may spend 10 or 15 hours in the dark room or computer, processing editing and printing, and that’s done alone to. If you don’t like to be alone, it’s not a good choice (to be a landscape photographer.)

Q: 为什么黑白照片对你那么重要?你会尝试去在同一拍摄环境下也同时拍彩色照片吗?

Q. What makes black and white photos important to you?  

A:我常常问自己为什么黑白照片对我如此重要,因为其实我也并不是那么确定,这完全是一件出于直觉的事情。回想起来很有可能是我在某一瞬间,就爱上了黑白照片,然后正因此我才想去当一名摄影师。这份热爱直到现在,也并未停止。但这不代表我不喜欢彩色照片,就比如好听的音乐,不管什么类型我都会喜欢一样。但从来不用数码相机拍摄彩色作品,只是像大家一样记录生活用。

A: I’ ve asked myself that question for a long time because I’m not really sure, it is entirely instinctive. Probably because I fell in love with b&w photography at a particular moment and made me want to be a photographer. I’ve never stopped loving it. It’s not like I don’t enjoy color photography. I do. It is like music, it could be any kind of photography if it’s excellent. There is just a particular kind of transformation that I enjoyed in b&w photography. We all see world in color, and making photography is always a transformation, either if it’s in color or b&w. But with s in b&w, there is a huge transformation, the opportunity for art.

摄影对我而言更像是一种转换,把我们所有人眼里都一样的彩色世界通过黑白展现出来,本身就是一种巨大的转变。也许像有些人说的那样,黑白将摄影变得简单。确实,在任何天气和光线条件下,你只要掌握基本的色调与对比度都可以拍出不错的黑白照片。但我不会说黑白和彩色哪个更简单,因为他们是完全不同的两种摄影,而非衍生或者进化的关系,根本无法进行比较。

I love the fact that in b&w photography it is very easy to shoot, any time of the day. You can even easily shoot at night. I like film, I develop my own film. That’s much easier to do with b&w. Many of the photographers whose works I love the most are b&w as well.

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Q: 在职业摄影师的道路上,你做过的最明智的决定是什么?

Q: What is the best decision you’ve ever made in your career?

A:没有去学校学习摄影(没有冒犯的意思)。没有尝试去做大家都在做的,或者摄影圈子里大家认为最重要的事情。我庆幸自己一直在遵从摄影对我而言的意义,只拍摄对我来说有意义的东西,而不是效仿别人。

A: Not to go to school for photography, sorry… (no offend, laughing) I was trying to do what is important to me. Following my own way into photography, taking pictures that are meaningful to me before anyone else.

我不是很建议初学者去研究生院学习摄影,因为研究生阶段的摄影学校,更倾向于把学生都打造成与学校校长一样的摄影师,更多人去学习的原因也不过是为了得到一纸文凭,这样他们就至少有去教书的资本,不必为生计发愁。专科学院出身的艺术家们,往往一心只追求如何成为艺术家的结果,而忽略了对他们所处的世界作出及时的反馈。当然也有很多成名的摄影师是从校园里出来的,但真正的艺术家是绝对不可能被学校教出来的。

Graduate schools tend to turn out students that are very much alike the chair department, the head of the school. People go there for safe, to get a teaching job. And academia has become having less individuality. There are generalizations there that many good artists come out of graduate school, too. But you can’t teach anyone to be an artist.

如果要问我保持对摄影的热情有什么秘诀,其实没有。我确实从六岁开始就很喜欢拍照,当你拍摄一张照片并用它来传达你对世界的感受,这是蕴含在照片之下更深层次的东西,追求这一方面的同时也反过来影响我最多。尽管这是一种复杂,不准确,很难的表达,但当你一旦做成就很有成就感。

I don’t have a secret. I think I fell in love with images when I was six years old. It was drawing at first, but I’ ve always loved pictures of every kind. And they just affect me deeply, there is something really beautiful about the idea of taking the picture that expresses the way you feel about the world in a complex and accurate way, it is very hard to do beautifully but it’s incredibly satisfying when you get it right.  

Q: 有人说摄影最重要的目的是记录,对此你的观点是什么?

Q: Some people say that the most important thing of photography is to document. What is your opinion about that?

A:对我而言只不过是一部分,不是最重要的。最重要的是你如何传达你对世界的感受,捕捉住给你真正活着的感觉的那些瞬间。很有趣的是,虽然相机是一件机械设备,但当你不断反复去用它拍照,时间久了,它便是你意识的一种记录。其实当你用镜头对准一个物体时,什么角度,拍什么对象,就已经是在做选择。哪怕你只是随便拍拍,时间长了你也很容易看出什么是真正吸引你的,但如果你很认真地去拍摄每一张照片,那能够洗刷出你对于生活深层次的感悟。

A: No, I think it is part of it. It is also to capture how you feel about something. Expressing the essential feeling about being alive and the world. Even though camera is a mechanical device, if you do it over and over again, it’s a kind of record of your consciousness. First of all, it’s a record of choice that you are interested in. You decided to point at something, a tiny fraction of thing you see in life. Over time, it’s just a simple record of what interests you the most, but then if you do it seriously you can shape it into something that it is a deeper reflection of your feeling about life.

Q: 你会在照片旁边加上几行注解,是为了保证观众可以接收到你想传递的信息吗?

Q: Is it necessary for you to give some explanation to people who look at your photos?

A:是也不是。 我不愿意给只是在看我照片的人作出注释,但我愿意给批评家们作出注释。因为一旦我不这样做,他们会从自己的角度来理解我的作品然而并不是我所想表达的。一旦我加上注释,这就更像是一场对话,而非他们一厢情愿的误会。

A: Yes and no. No, for just people who are just looking at it. Yes, for critiques. Because I discover that if I don’t put new work out with the text that describes my intentions, critiques will come alone and interpret the works themselves, and it’s usually not exactly the way I feel about the works. If I take the responsibility to write something thoughtful about the work and make sure that is accompanied with the new works, the whole critical process tends to get on the right track.  

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Q: 你最后悔的事情是什么?如果你只有一次机会去改变什么,你希望做什么?

Q: Is there anything you felt regretful about?

A:我几乎从来没有真切地感受到后悔的滋味,直到最近,可能是我老了,开始在脑海里时常闪现一些过去的片段。这些后悔有大有小,但往往是你真的出于无意却重重伤害了某个人的感情。如果只有一次机会能去改变什么的话,我可能会想拥有完美的自由。当然我知道几乎没有人拥有过。对我而言,完美的自由就是能完全拥有属于自己的时间,不用去做自己热爱之外的事情。

A: I never experienced regret in a powerful way until recently, and now I have flash back of the regret I had in my entire life from very small thing to very big things. i think it has to do with the humility of getting older, realizing how many mistakes you made along the way, mostly you regret hurting other people’s feelings you did not mean to. If there is an opportunity to change something…. (long pause) I would love to have the freedom. I know almost no one does, but if I could have anything, I don’t have it would be perfect. It means to have all my time to do my work.  

Q: 你最满意的作品是什么?

Q: What is your favorite piece of work?

A:《Town of C.》。是我最近正在忙的即将出版的一本书。说实话,如果我对自己正在做的这件事没有最满意的这种态度,那我想就是时候停下来了。尽管我已经做了这么多年,但我还是能感受到自己一直在进步。

A: Town of C., my latest project. If I don’t have that feeling about each new project, it is time to stop. You want to always get better, and I find even though I’ve been doing this for a very long time, I felt like I still get better.

Q: 如果你能给年轻时候的自己提一个建议,会是什么?

Q: If you have a chance, what advice would you give to yourself who is at age of twenty or thirty?

A:集中注意力。对周围的任何事,对自己,对生活都集中注意力。能分散精力的事情太多了,但希望你能充分体验到生活的每一刻,把自己的才能最大化地反馈给生活。

A: Pay more attention. Always pay attention. You can get distracted throughout the day, certain problems in your life, things you need to do but are less important what you have as a goal. Paying attention to life, getting the most out of every moment and responding to it as much.  

Q: 最吸引你的五个品质是什么?

Q: What are the top five personalities that attract you the most?

A:智商高,善良,温暖,情绪感知力高,忠诚。

A: Intelligence, kindness, warmth, emotional-awareness and loyalty. 

有趣的一点是,当你年轻的时候,经历并不同的恋爱阶段,拥有不同的朋友,你会一遍一遍不停地在脑海中,像刑警根据目击证人描述来描绘罪犯画像那样,尝试去勾勒出理想中某个人的样子。但等你年纪越长,越会知道这样的人大概是不存在的。

As you progress through life and you have different love relationships, you begin to build the picture in your mind that is like those drawing that the police officer asking the victim to describe the criminals’ look based on the memories. As you move along in life, you start to create this picture of all the best qualities that people you are with had, and it becomes harder and harder to find the person who possess all these qualities.

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Richard的作品只有黑白照片。 

Richard only produces art works in black and white.

不单单是因为他开始摄影时数码时代并未到来,而是他拍照时使用的4x5大画幅相机,只选择了黑白胶片。这又是另外一种看似不必要的坚持。数码相机已经被科技逼迫着不断进化的时代,一个裤兜儿装不下的设备几乎等同于摆设。偶尔看见有人举着笨重的相机在街上游走,十有八九却也是心血来潮要搏一搏眼球。

 It not just because the time when he began his photography was before the began of the era of digital camera, but because the camera he shoots with—the 4*5 view camera—only works with black and white films. It is another reflection of Richard’s stubbornness and persistence at nowadays where the gears cannot fit in a jean pocket are comparable to extra useless metals. Sometimes we might see people carry a heavy camera wandering on the street, but it seems most likely because of a whim for attention.

“笨重”,“麻烦”,“使用复杂”,“取景时看到的都是反的”,“最好在暗房里进行冲印”……大画幅相机的使用体验对普通人而言并不友好。我们要求的东西太快了,时间太宝贵了,怎么可能带着笨重的相机,跑到山沟里待好几个月,每天只拍几张照片还不能马上看到?

 “Cumbersome” “confusing” “over-complex” “it is upside down in the viewfinder” “you have to print it in a darkroom…” a view camera might not be the friendliest equipment to general people. we demand efficiency, as no extra valuable moment should be wasted. Why would one bother to carry a heavy big camera, living a hermit life at a middle of nowhere, and not even mention the time spent on waiting for the final photos?

大概是因为,我们不曾像Richard一样固执地坚持用镜头筛选出一些东西:

This inexplicable actions of Richard could be explained by one reason: he is just so stubborn that he persists using his big lens to pick those treasure moments in his life and the world:

一些少有人拍手叫好的深刻,一些转瞬即逝的单纯,一些唤醒麻木生活的刺痛——

Some profoundness that we are impressed; some pureness that only exists in those instantaneous moments; some pains on us who live almost in numbness…

在那个淳朴的小镇拍摄时,他遇见一位16岁的少女。征求了少女母亲的同意后,Richard为她拍下了一张照片。她很兴奋,叽叽喳喳地问了一堆问题,关于这个黑箱子一般的相机,关于眼前这位来自纽约的摄影师,关于她听说过却并未见过的精彩世界。

 In that simple little town, he met a 16-year-old girl. With the permission of the mother, Richard took a shot for her. She was so excited and could not stopping asking questions: about the camera that looked like a black box, about this photographer from New York City, about the marvelous world out of the town that she only heard of…

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copyright© by Richard Rothman

末了儿跟她告别时,她突然严肃起来,非常认真地问:

When it was time to say goodbye, she turned serious and asked,

“你能不能带我一起回纽约?”

“Can I go to New York City with you? “

他便知道,刚刚相机里留存下的,早已一瞬即逝。

At that instant Richard knew, the moment that his camera just captured has become the past.

 

摄影 Photographer:汤思宇 Siyu Tang

撰文 Writer:郭子楸 Ziqiu Guo

翻译 Translation:姜婧 Jing Jiang