WEEKLY

CAPTURE THE LIGHT AND SHADOW
浮光掠影

何藩,香港攝影界的一代宗師,曾拍下無數懾人心魄的照片。他同時也是一位專情的男子,從十八歲到八十餘歲,就只拿着一部Rolleiflex 3.5F雙鏡反光相機,遊走於中環、西環一帶的大街小巷。他擅長掌控光影,對幾何美學有一份敏銳的觸覺。看着他拍的黑白照片,才驀地發現,五、六十年代的香港竟美得令人屏息。時光不復返,但至少我們可以透過何藩的照片回到過去,念一念香港人的舊。

生於上海的何藩,在十四歲生日時接過父親贈送的柯達Brownie相機後,從此醉心攝影。數年後,他移居香港,遂開始用一部Rolleiflex相機紀錄昔日舊香港的時光。他追光逐影,捕捉了許多寫實而感動的瞬間,更憑藉照片榮獲世界各地的攝影獎項逾二百八十次之多,可謂蜚聲國際。他推出過四本攝影集,包括《香港追憶》、《人生舞台》、《香港回憶錄》及《念香港人的舊》,更被攝影專業網站Invisible Photographer選為「最具影響力的亞洲攝影家」。

然而,何藩對影像的情意結並不限於此。外表不凡的他,曾是邵氏兄弟電影公司的演員,參演了多部電影,甚至在《西遊記》中飾演唐僧。他其後更成為了導演,執導超過二十部電影。只是,他終究還是敵不過製片商的壓力,開拍情色片,連他也自言是為了三斗米而折腰。雖說是情色片,但何藩偏愛用唯美的影像處理手法包裝這些電影。苦苦堅持多年後,他在九十年代移居美國,開展退休生活。

若你有欣賞過何藩的作品,大概會陷入這樣的迷思:何以照片的構圖、光線、人物均恰到好處?其實,他有時候會日以繼夜地守候在某個地方,等待最美的一刻。何藩認為,要拍一張好照片,讓人切實地領悟到照片的神韻,攝影師本身的修養尤為重要。他說,「我讀過很多書,文學名著、音樂、繪畫、電影都給我很多的靈感和啟發。其實,中國古代的詩詞歌賦比很多導演的蒙太奇效果更棒。」

何藩喜歡拍草根階層,但他的照片卻沒有表達過份的哀怨,反而映射出一種拼搏精神。辛勤的工人、天真爛漫的孩子、沉默的老人、閒聊中的婦女……這些為人所忽略的日常風景,是他展現藝術細胞的最佳素材。他最喜愛的作品《夜幕降臨》攝於 1954 年的某個日落時分,拍攝背景是堅尼地城海邊。當時天色漸暗,一位正踏上歸途的推車工人,配上周邊的建築物,營造出寂靜的感覺。《陰影》是他其中一幅最著名的作品,三角陰影之下尋得一名女子的芳蹤,而女子上方又是另一個三角形,其玄妙之處實在不言而喻。《私家》帶給人無限的幻想空間,屹立於牆前的一塊牌寫着「私家重地 閒人免進」,而高牆背後卻有一對男女在交流,令畫面相映成趣。何藩的作品就如紅酒般,越久越醇,越看越有味道。

何藩除了帶我們回到昔日的香港,亦教會我們一件事──攝影是一場修行。所有藝術品,或許都不單靠技術和工具來完成,因為藝術家本身的思維、修養也同樣不可缺少。何藩不屬於任何攝影流派,他從不拘一格,也不獨沽一味,晚年亦學習數碼攝影及鑽研Photoshop技巧,持續不斷地創作。這樣的他,誠然是愛著攝影的。

「人生只是一連串的瞬間,而攝影捕捉到這些瞬間,將其定格在時光長河中。」──何藩(1937-2016)

撰文:王以珞
美術:王曉澄

Entitled the “Grand Master of Photography” in Hong Kong, Fan Ho has taken a multitude of captivating photos. And he is a faithful man—he only used one camera, the Rolleiflex 3.5F twin-lens reflex camera, in his entire photography life from the age of 18 to 80. He rambled through the lanes and streets of Central and Sai Wan, played with lights and shadows, and delved into the beauty of geometry on the streets. Looking at his black and white photos makes us realize how beautiful Hong Kong was back in the 1950 to 1960s. Time cannot be reversed, but the photos taken by Fan Ho can take us back to the old Hong Kong.

Born in Shanghai, Fan Ho first received a Kodak Brownie camera from his father as a birthday gift when he was 14. He was then completely enthralled by photography. Few years later, he moved to Hong Kong and started to record the old days of Hong Kong with the Rolleiflex camera. He captured many gritty and realistic moments, and won over 280 international photography awards. He has published 4 photos book, including Hong Kong Yesterday, The Living Theatre, A Hong Kong Memoir and Portrait of Hong Kong. Moreover, he was selected as one of the most influential photographers in Asia by the famous website Invisible Photographer.

Yet, his enduring passion does not limited to photography. With an attractive appearance, he was once an actor of Shaw Brothers Studio, and had played the role “Tang Monk” in Journey to the West. Later, he also became a director and directed more than 20 movies. Although he was forced to direct adult movies, he still attempted to use a more artistic way to present those movies. After being a director for many years, he relocated to the United States and began his retirement.

If you have seen the works of Fan Ho, you may wonder why the composition, light and the people can be arranged in such a perfect way. In fact, Fan Ho would stay at a place and waited for the best moment all day long. He believes that a photographer’s moralities and values are of paramount importance in taking a good photo. Ho said,
“I’ve read many books, famous literature books, music, paintings and films give me a lot of inspirations. I think the scenes depicted in Chinese poems are much more brilliant than the montage effect created by many directors.”

Fan Ho loves to capture the everyday life of Hong Kong grassroots, demonstrating the fighting spirit of them. Diligent workers, innocent children, quiet old men and talkative women…Fan Ho would never neglect any one of them. In his favorite work As Evening Hurries By, there is a man pushing a heavy cart along a quiet street along the seaside, which gives off a sense of stillness and serenity. Approaching Shadow is one of his most famous photos. It is an ingenious setting where a woman standing at the tip of the triangular shadow, while there is also another triangle beyond her. Private gives reader room for imagination—a pair of man and woman standing behind a white wall, and in front of the wall, there is a sign board with the word “PRIVATE” written on it. I would describe Fan Ho’s work as a bottle of red wine, and they look better and better with age.

Fan Ho’s photos do not only bring us back to the old Hong Kong, but also teach us one crucial thing—photography is a process of self-improving. I believe that all kinds of art work are not solely completed by techniques and tools, since the moralities and values of the artists are also very important. Fan Ho never stops creating and improving his photos. He had learnt to take digital photography and use Photoshop to edit his old photos. Getting to know him allows us to feel his love for photography.

“Life is but a string of moments and photography captures these moments, freezing them in time,”—Fan Ho (1937-2016)

Text: Elok Wong
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #183

CAPTURE THE LIGHT AND SHADOW

 

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