WEEKLY

THE ETHNOSPHERE
出走世界

對不少人來說,攝影是揭露社會醜態的工具,但英國攝影師Jimmy Nelson卻將攝影當作一種能夠消弭隔閡的世界語言,更藉由照片宣揚人性的美麗。從2010年起,他拜訪了超過三十五個部落,用大片幅菲林相機拍下無數幀照片,記錄原始部落的生活和文化。他所拍的照片,宛如把最淳樸的風土人情活現於眼前,讓人不禁對原始部落心生一股崇敬之情。

與其他攝影師不一樣,Jimmy Nelson成為攝影師的原因,並非源於其敏銳的觀察力,而是他生來的冒險精神,以及一趟的征途。在正值青春期的十六歲之齡,他開始出現脫髮問題,身邊的同學紛紛視他為異類。於是一年後,他出走了。他獨個兒離開自己的家,走到西藏生活。為何要千里迢迢跑到西藏?只因為他知道西藏的僧侶都一樣沒有頭髮,而他深信那些僧侶會明白他的處境。從西藏回家後,他與人分享這趟旅程的照片,發現原來大家都很感興趣,促使他繼續以部落文化為拍攝題材。拍了四十餘年,他遊走了中國、哈薩克、尼泊爾、巴布亞新幾內亞等地,並將拍過的照片輯錄成書,包括《Before They Pass Away》《Homage to Humanity》,教人認識原始部落的文化。

隨着航拍技術與日俱長,即使是多麼難以踏足的地方,也能用鳥瞰的角度去窺探。然而,Jimmy Nelson仍選擇親自接觸一些原始部落的人,那怕是幽暗的山谷,抑或寒風凜冽的冰原,他都會迎難而上,盡力到訪每個地方。他接觸過不同的原始部落,經歷到城市人前所未聞的文化體驗,例如半游牧的Himba族人認為大自然是神聖而不可侵犯的,故一切生活習慣皆順應自然,男女老少都不會穿衣服;而位於巴布亞新幾亞的Huli Wigmen部落有一個重要的傳統習俗,就是男人會用假髮、羽毛等東西做頭飾,也會在面部塗上黃色、紅色和白色的顏料。而Jimmy Nelson的工作,就是努力記錄這些處於消失邊緣的景象。

活在繁華的世界裏,我們大概無法想像怎樣與自然共生,同時亦會以「個體」自居,傾向注重自己的利益多於一個群體的利益。也許有一天,他們存活過的證據將蒸發在空氣之中,無跡可尋。沒有人會阻止他們與世界接軌,投入大城市的懷抱,但至少,我們可以理解和記住現在的他們,並學習像他們一樣,對自己身處的地方抱持歸屬感。就算被世界遺忘,我們都要拼命找到自己的定位,好好生活。

撰文:王以珞
美術:王曉澄

Many people think photography is a tool for revealing the depravity of society, while Jimmy Nelson, a British photojournalist and photographer, fails to agree with it. He considers photography as a global language that can eliminate the distance between people, and articulates the beauty of humanity with his photos. Since 2010, he has visited over 35 tribes and took photos of those people with a large format film camera. His photos portray the purest customs and traditions, making us feel great reverence for the primitive tribes.

Different from other photographers, Jimmy Nelson started out to be a photographer with his adventurous soul, as well as a long journey far away from home, rather than just a great attention to trivial matters. At the age of 16, his hair suddenly fell out and the people around him thought he was strange. Then, one year later, he fled to somewhere far away alone. He disappeared to Tibet, where he could find monks with no hair everywhere, and he thought monks could understand his situation. When he returned home, these pictures became captivating to people and he decided to published them while also looking for other tribes to take photos for. Having been taking photos for more than 40 years, he has traveled to countries like China, Kazakhstan, Nepal and Papua New Guinea, and published a few photobooks including “Before They Pass Away” and “Homage to Humanity”.

Thanks to the advancement in drone technology, we can now admire the breathtaking landscapes from the bird's eye view. Yet, Jimmy Nelson still opts for visiting the tribes in person. Be it the gloomy valleys, or the snowy icefields, he would try to get there in spite of difficulties. He has mingled with people from different tribes and learned the culture and traditions that he had never heard of. For example, the naked Himba people believe nature is sacred, and they live on what nature provides for them. Congregated around Papua New Guinea, Huli Wigmen have a very important tradition—men would wear decorative wigs made of their own hair or others’ hair, and they would paint their face with yellow, red and white colors. The duty of Jimmy Nelson is to record all these landscapes.

Living in cosmopolitan cities, we cannot imagine how to live on nature, and unlike the people of different tribes, we are more individualistic. Perhaps one day, the tribes would vanish from the world, without a trace, without a sign. No one can stop these people from moving to the cities, but at least at this critical time, we can try to understand and remember them, while also learning to seek a sense of belonging from where we live. Life is not about how the world sees us, but how we position ourselves.

Text: Elok Wong
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #229

THE ETHNOSPHERE

 

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