王达军
    http://wangdajun.artron.net/
    王达军
    编辑出版摄影画册《西部奇路》;... 1988..
    参加北京今日美术馆“中日摄影名家... 1992..
    拍摄出版摄影画册《安岳石窟艺术》... 1997..
    拍摄出版摄影画册《丽江白沙壁画》... 1999..
    拍摄出版摄影画册《中国石窟雕塑全... 2000..
    拍摄出版摄影画册《收租院群雕》;... 2001..
    拍摄出版摄影画册《小平故里》;... 2004..
    艺术家亲自认证,二唯码身份;真迹、赝品,一键便知标识
    艺术家作品随时查阅,图文资产随时调用
     
      搜索:
     
    悟道自然的奇境——王达军30年风光摄影漫评
     
    作者:林路  发布时间: 2018-12-27 16:45:33
     
     

      在中国摄影的历史上,有许多值得关注的节点,影响着中国摄影的走向。尤其是一些曾经被忽略的历史人文环境和背景下的摄影现象,一旦深入挖掘,也许会有令人意想不到的启迪。比如上个世纪80年代,刚刚苏醒的中国摄影茫然地站在十字路口,不知何去何从。于是,一些有胆略、有智慧也有实力的摄影人站了出来,凭借直觉导演出一幕幕声情并茂、活色生香的影像正剧。不管是时势造英雄也好,英雄推时势也罢,现代中国摄影的文案上,自然留下了不可抹去的生存印记。其中最引人瞩目的,也许不是后来才风起云涌的纪实摄影,也不是再后来昙花一现、受到意识形态打压的观念摄影,倒是面对自然的那一声惊叹所绵延不绝的风光摄影!中国摄影家镜头中的那一声“惊叹”,一时间惊醒了无数饥渴的心灵,让人感受到了人性与自然沟通的宏大魅力。

      让我们从王达军当年的一幅作品开始:1988年11月的西藏当雄县,苍茫大漠之中,一条公路垂直贯穿画面三分之一的黄金分割点上,迎面而来的是一辆装满了货物的卡车,与旁边一个牧民自信的背影交替而过,路边星星点点的牛羊缓缓走入画面……这是中国西部80年代少为人知的自然与人文景观的真实写照,是一个神奇而具有诱惑力的瞬间留影,交杂着金黄色的错落光影,铺开了人间与天国遥不可及却近在咫尺的通途……

      尽管这时候的世界摄影大格局,已经远远走在了中国的前面,但是透过王达军的这幅富有象征意味的佳作,我们依然可以感受到许多默契的对应——联邦德国摄影家、评论家琼·冯丘伯塔发现:“在80年代,摄影已不再仅仅是人类视觉功能和记忆功能的辅助工具,或是诗情画意的升华,它是各种文化进行交流、融合的媒介。”意大利摄影教授、艺术评论家格林伯·西蒙也承认:“80年代摄影的主要特点是自由发挥和越来越多的艺术平等。摄影经过150年的发展终于摆脱了自卑。”当你摊开王达军这本30年心血结晶的画册,也不得不承认:从80年代初一直延续至今的足迹,尽管在中国摄影的大版图上还只是沧海一粟,但是留下的思考空间却是如此的丰富。其中,80年代末至90代初期,王达军和同在中国军队从事摄影工作的袁学军、王建军(摄影界简称“三军”)所留下的风光摄影探索历程,更是足以载入当代中国摄影的史册。

      这里仅就王达军所精选的100幅作品,切入风光摄影独特的创作特征,从审美的角度谈一点我自己的看法——

      风光摄影的审美何在,是光影吗?光与影的确是摄影的基础,不管从它的物理特性还是从艺术的角度理解,这样的说法一点也不夸张。从科学的意义上说,没有光学就没有摄影——摄影技术的产生与光学理论的研究和发展是分不开的。同时,没有光线以及由此产生的阴影,也就没有了物体的形象和形态特征,照相机无法获得感光的可能,摄影家更谈不上巧妙用光以塑造完美的形象。光影的语言在摄影中能传递各种各样的信息:被摄体的形状、体积、质感、色彩、明暗关系、空间深度、自然状态等。人们对摄影往往存在一个误区:一般以为我们看到的物体本来就是这样的,其实光的性质对物体外观的影响很大。光的颜色、强度和方向都能影响我们对一些物体真正是什么样子的看法。当看到熟悉的面孔、房屋、起伏的风景或其它什么,我们的眼睛和大脑就会对照明做出补偿。而照相机不能改变人们的视觉印象,这就决定了摄影家要有非凡的驾驭光线的能力:一方面通过照片再现人们熟悉的景物,使人感到亲切;另一方面通过照片使人们发现熟悉的景物中不易看到的美丽的一面,使人感到惊奇。因此,光线就成了摄影艺术造型最重要的物质基础,而光线的运用又成为摄影家表现思想感情、实现艺术构思的重要手段。在王达军一开始追逐西部光影的那些日子里,光的魅力被镜头后面的那双智慧的眼睛捕捉成生命独特的符号,构成了让无数人赞叹不已的自然奇葩。在王达军的画面中,我们看到了工布江达县的某一个黄昏,深蓝色天幕下的银色电缆让画面简洁到了极点,纯净的线条和单一的色彩光影,宁静之间却似乎暗示观众孕育着什么——是的,当你仔细浏览画面的深处,可以发现剪影般的农夫和耕牛,正好在浅淡色远山的依稀衬托下,成为画面的视觉焦点之一。光和影巧妙营造了一片天人合一的神秘氛围,却又将世俗变成了奇迹!再来看小金县四姑娘山的那幅浪漫之作,山头环绕的灵感浮云,在神秘的光影烘托下,恰似给雪山之巅戴上了一条绸缎般的围脖。光和影的分割力量恰到好处,画面从上至下一分为三:从闪烁着银光的峰顶,到蜿蜒起伏的山脊,以及隐藏在黑暗中的山坡前景,一层一层缓缓铺开,无一不是借助光影的力量成为抒发情感的灵韵。正如王达军自己所说:“西部大地神奇的美,让我在拍摄风光时特别强调光影变化,追求高反差、低照度、低色温、单纯的色调、简洁的构图和无穷的影调变幻。这些当时国内鲜见的西部风光摄影作品,将光影、色彩、情感自然地融为一体,极富视觉冲击力,让人眼前一亮,引发共鸣,很快便得到业内的好评。”

      风光摄影的审美还有什么,是瞬间吗?瞬间的重要性是不言而喻的。早在自然主义摄影诞生的年代,英国摄影家爱默生首先提出了摄影“瞬间的把握”特性。人们渐渐开始认识到,当一个摄影家在按下快门的刹那,照相机记录的只是现实生活中极其短暂的一个瞬间。尽管和其它平面艺术尤其和绘画一样,展现在观众面前的也是一幅二维空间的生活场景或景物外貌的片断,但绘画除了捕捉、选择、集中对象外,可以经过较长时间的反复绘制和修改,任何绘画的“瞬间”都不再是艺术家直观的、自然的瞬间,其中包含着主体对对象反复关照和体验等更多的理念因素。而摄影直接从客观事物运动的瞬间状态再现生活,整个创作过程都包括在一瞬间的抓取之中,流动的时间和广袤的空间决定了摄影已经成为不可重复的瞬间。正像古希腊哲人早就说过的,“你不可能两次踏进同一条河流,因为新的水不断流过你的身边”。从某种意义上说,风光摄影的瞬间特征,在许多时候是和光影的魅力紧密融合的——摄影家在等待光影变幻的过程中,所捕捉的也正是那一个个不可重复的瞬间。不仅如此,风光摄影中一旦出现静态景观之外的生物,比如王达军镜头中经常闪现而过的那一头头飘忽的羚羊、剪影般幽暗的牦牛或是在烂漫花影下虚动的孩子身影,都是对风光摄影瞬间语言妙笔生花的延伸。比如1990年5月西藏察隅县的那幅画面,那棵几乎占据了前景三分之二空间的老树生花,开得如此烂漫动人。花影下四个奔跑的孩子,微微虚化恰到好处——既让人看到了一个动感的空间,又可以辨认出这些都是身穿藏服的少年,地域特征如此鲜明,一下子拉开了和江南春色的时空距离。这时候的瞬间把握,也就不再是简单的动感表现,而是具有深厚的民俗意味错落其中,使风光摄影和人文地域天衣无缝地缝合在一起。那一次次漫长的等待和那一瞬间神奇的捕捉,自然奇观的快门声响已经和王达军的心跳节拍如此的默契,不可分离……

      风光摄影的审美尤其需要注重品质,特别是对画面细节的关注,更是和生命质量的提升密切相关。从90年代开始,王达军的拍摄从中画幅到大画幅,一步一步逼近极致的视觉空间。“每个景点,我都力求拍深、拍透、拍精,强调作品的系统性、完整性和艺术性,将影像推向极致。”有话说:细节决定成败!世界上无数优秀的风光摄影家更喜欢使用中大画幅的照相机面对自然,绝非是一种偶然的现象。只有让镜头的触角深入到了自然最为微妙的内核,生命的奇观才可能有不可动摇的震撼力。你可以想象,面对一幅细节丰富、品质超群的风光摄影作品,观赏者的目光至少会在“山水”间流连数十秒钟。在这样一种高品质的细节支撑下,我们得以出神入化于阿坝之水、江孜之山,峨眉之云……找到的是更为丰富的心灵诉求点。记得美国摄影家约翰·塞克斯通曾经选择了美国西南部的阿纳萨兹印第安人的遗迹——就像当年亚当斯长途跋涉于美国西部地区一样。塞克斯通在经过了一次艰难而“野蛮的远足”之后,终于面对了位于峡谷边缘的这片遗址。他通过大画幅相机试图告诉我们一种确切的感觉:人们曾经在这里生活过,他们的指印还牢固地留在潮湿的窗户上——这样一种无法用语言形容的神秘感,在王达军的高品质画面中比比皆是。比如2003年11月的四川阿坝州松潘县,冰雪覆盖的大地晶莹剔透,当远处阳光下的雪山成为画面亮点的这一瞬间,占据四分之三前景的阴影中的细节,自然成为王达军关注的重点所在。从冰、雪、树影一直推到远处的寺庙,一点一点展开,从自然到神性的顶礼膜拜,于细微之处体验到宇宙宏大的胸怀。又比如2007年11月的四川峨眉山,前景的冰凌雪挂如同波涛起伏的大海,激情间“惊涛拍岸”,让人浮想联翩。中景中的云海又因为慢速快门的虚化,如同“浓得化不开”的生命积淀,和前景恰恰构成了巧妙的对比反差——动静之间,无一不是通过丰富的细节作为强有力的支撑。他似乎带着我们亲临现场,触摸自然和历史遗存的诸多神秘和辉煌,引领我们从鬼斧神工的创造力中走向不可预知的未来。

      风光摄影的审美是光影,是瞬间,是高品质的可以触摸的光影和瞬间?是,也不完全是!王达军30年的风光摄影实践告诉我们,风光摄影的最高境界还在于人文积淀的丰厚修养。正如他所说:“一幅成功的风光摄影作品,必须能够唤起观赏者情感上的波澜,感受到作者通过画面所表达出的全部内涵,从而获得美的享受和精神上的振奋。这就要求作者具备较高的思想修养、文化修养和艺术修养。多年来,我注重打好修养基础,较系统地学习了文学、美学、史学和音乐知识,认真研究了西部高原的历史、地理、民俗和宗教文化,翻阅大量国内外摄影同行的风光大作,琢磨思索,对比揣度,努力提高自身素质。”汝果欲学诗,工夫在诗外——王达军深知其中的奥秘所在,于是身体力行,满怀自信地跋涉在这一片茫茫天地之间。只有深厚的积累,才可能发现光影的灵动,才可能捕捉瞬间的飘忽,也才可能意识到高品质的细节,将风光和人文转换成巨大的视觉冲击力。而这一切综合在一起,自然也就构成了一幅幅斑斓无比的天地长卷,不管是彩色的,还是黑白的,不管是西部的山水苍茫,还是异域的辽远空寂,都是拍摄者自己心灵感悟的外化,自然也会带着观看者,一起走入这一片没有尽头的山水之间。我很喜欢他拍摄于1990年7月青海湖的那一个瞬间,在“黑云压城城欲摧”的大幕底下,突然间天光云影如裂帛绽开,万道金光之下,一只海鸥上下翻飞,舒展着优雅的性灵之舞。一时间让人联想到高尔基脍炙人口的名作《海燕》:在苍茫的大海上,狂风卷集着乌云。在乌云和大海之间,海燕像黑色的闪电,在高傲地飞翔。……这个敏感的精灵,——它从雷声的震怒里,早就听出了困乏,它深信,乌云遮不住太阳——是的,遮不住的!

      这些作品能够和世界文学的名作互为印证,绝非偶然。而且,我还从中发现,王达军的许多作品和世界上一些优秀的摄影家的创作也有着异曲同工的妙趣——

      比如和英国摄影家比尔·布兰特一样,王达军很善于在画面浓郁的结构特征中留下一些透气的空间,总是观赏在郁闷的气氛中找到可以“逃脱”的出路。甚至在一些很像中国水墨画中“墨色”晕化效果的作品中,伴随着酣畅淋漓的美学韵味,突然间一道光影闪现,一下子把观众拉回了现实之中,而非乌托邦的梦想世界。正如我们所看到的拍摄于1989年11月西藏拉孜县的那幅看似简单却又充溢着生命力量的作品,整幅画面都是在绿色的笼罩之中,甚至连天空也是灰绿色的。画面的中间,如同一道绿色的闪电,劈开了茫茫天宇和大地的关联,让如此纯净美妙的绿色如同翡翠般凸显在天地顽石之间。又比如我们从王达军的镜头中感受到了法国摄影家杰鲁普·西埃夫对瞬间的理解,他所希望捕捉的,正是以后不再会出现的风景。西埃夫常常喃喃自语说:“这一瞬已过去。这一瞬很珍贵。”他甚至认为瞬间的意义在风光摄影中比人物的拍摄更重要:“没有一道光线、一片云彩是一样的。我拍的影像就是要表现以后就消失的东西,虽然摄影完全没有作客观见证的价值。”我们似乎在王达军的镜头中看到了雪山顶上的那一抹光影一直在明暗幻灭的交替之间,听到了一棵树生长的声音——就在1991年2月拍摄的四川阿坝州九寨沟的秘境中,那棵树,不,是两棵树——前景中的那棵还残留着金色的叶片,在逆光下透出顽强的活力;中景中的那棵却已经是白雪覆盖,傲然面对大自然的严寒。那些变幻多姿、生生不息的舞动,似乎一直就没有停止过,却早已成为自然中已经消失而不可重复的瞬间。如果用美国摄影家克里斯多弗·伯克特对自然摄影的认识来解读王达军的作品,也许是最恰当不过的了——

      “未受到人类影响的和洁净的世界有一种无法用语言表达的美丽和惊奇:一个充满着光线和安详的世界。生活中还未被打开的奇迹在你的眼前展现,好像是在编织的绒绣中的创造。我们世界中的一切,每一个生活的切面,每一块石头或是滴落的水珠,甚至我们四周的空气和光线,都折射出和反映出上帝的荣耀和风范,唤起我们的惊叹和赞美。……我的照片的意图就是想提供一种简洁(如果有什么被遮盖的话),以回眸一瞥进入光和力世界中的纯净和辉煌。只有达到这样的目的,照片才会是成功的。”

      正如中国古代禅师所说:“在我开悟之前见山是山,见水是水。当我被教导着开悟时,见山不是山,见水不是水。现在,我已开悟,水又是水,山又是山。”人们对世界的认识总是在一个不断渐进变化的过程中,王达军也是如此。从1981年3月拍摄的四川天全县二郎山那幅带有强烈写实主义痕迹的作品开始,他一直在探索着更为浑厚的视觉表达语言——一辆军车已经驶过,被画面前景的冰凌遮挡;另一辆汽车迎面开来,背后是豁然开朗的人间天堑。随后,当我们驻足于那幅拍摄于1989年1月西藏芒康县觉巴山的画面前,猛然意识到他已经借助神秘的天意开始书写生命的艰辛。依然是汽车,依然是山野茫茫;但是巨大的山脉已经成为自然力量的强大缩影,凭借雾色迷离,光影斑驳,我们看到的不是人定胜天,而是人类在自然中艰难前行的诗篇。然而这不是终点,我们似乎又能从2009年10月带来的四川峨眉山 金顶那片天人合一的奇境中,遥想世界未来的禅意。这是一幅难以形容的神奇画面,金顶的寺庙渐隐渐现在蓝色的天幕之间,而沐浴在朝阳下的金色佛像,一如凌空而起的远古寓言,坐落在虔诚的人心深处。其实人的观念世界里总是潜伏着危机,当想象的虚幻世界,完美人格一旦丢弃在现实世界,人们的思想就会陷入极大的混乱之中。于是摄影家才希望通过更“真实”的山山水水找回一种本我的“真实”——王达军30年间的努力终究让我们看到,2009年开始的黑白画面,悄然回归纯净和极简主义风格,其终极价值也许就在于此!就如享有盛名的美国西部摄影家大卫·明奇所特别强调的,他需要通过照片带回一种特殊的现场感,而不仅仅是地理环境信息,以求“让照片自己说话”。

      荷尔德林曾经留下过一句名言:“人诗意地居住在大地上”。然而这句诗若不是经过海德格尔的阐发,肯定不会像今天这样在世界上广为流传。因为在海德格尔那里,“诗意”已远不只是一种艺术追求,而成为解决人生价值和意义问题的重要依据,成为生命的哲学。它的终极思考是人生的诗化,是使有限的生命寻得永恒的家园。那么对于摄影家来说,这样的一种终极思考是否也可以在他们的风光摄影中体现出来呢?王达军的回答应该是肯定的——自然中的悠悠万物生息繁衍,无始无终,而每一个人只是这世界上的短暂的过客,人在大地上只是匆匆过客的短暂居停,而要使这短暂的存在超越瞬间而走向永恒,走向自由,就理应把存在审美化,或是使之与自然和谐,融为一体,或是形成与自然的冲突,引起震人心弦的思考。就如我们看到的2004年7月拍摄于四川阿坝州松潘县的那幅浪漫的作品,色彩斑斓之间,将自然的生长变成了一曲节奏欢快的交响——前景的波光粼粼层层烘托出盆景般的花团锦簇,如同一个圣坛,祭奠着大自然的浪漫赐予。随着七彩水色的渐渐延伸,我们突然看到了原本并不显眼的黄龙寺庙,悄然隐没在万绿丛中。人生在自然的终极诗化过程中,变成了张弛有序的永恒。

      也许我们无法为自然再添加些什么,或许添加了也可能会弄巧成拙。然而我们可以为自然留下些什么,或许留下的仅仅是自己的一份心境。就在面对自然按下快门的那一个瞬间,如果心静如水,自然也就波澜不惊;如果心潮起伏,自然也就风起云涌。与其说这是自然的造化,还不如说这是人心的一点灵明。明白了这一点,解读王达军30年来的艺术结晶,真的是感叹万千——因为,这绝非是作为一位理论工作者,能够从美学的理论角度做出完整概括的——

      比如朱光潜在他的《论“自然美”》、《山水诗和自然美》中一再倡导的“主客观统一论”认为:“我们觉得某个自然物美时,那个客观方面对象必定有某些属性投合了主观方面的意识形态总和。这两方面的霎时契合,结成一体,就是自然所呈现的具体形象。”摄影家天生的悟性和面对自然沉思冥想的过程结合在一起,也许正好印证了这样的美学观念?

      然而蔡仪在他的《谈自然美》中则力主“纯客观论”:“自然事物的美是指天生的自然有的,所谓天生的,是说不受人的影响的。……自然美在自然本身。”以此来看,客观的自然人类是无法强行介入的,那么,王达军又是如何出入自如的?

      于是我又想起著名美学家李泽厚的观点,他认为要表现和说明自然美的特征,最好用马克思在《1844年经济学—哲学手稿》中的一句话来说明,就是“人化的自然”;只有从人类“实践”的哲学高度,才能准确地诠释自然美的原因。王达军的实践,是否已经达到了这样的高度,我的评价恐怕只是一家之言。因为柏拉图早在《大希庇阿斯篇》中就已强调把握美的本质的困难,因而不得不用一句古谚来统领全篇:“美是难的。”这并不奇怪,因为包括自然美在内的美是一个开放性的概念,或者用林同华的说法:“自然美是一个流动范畴”。所以,单纯从主客观统一论、纯客观论、实践论乃至近代西方美学界比较流行的纯主观论等等,都不可能一劳永逸地概括人类对于自然审美的复杂现象。我们不可能“界定”自然美的本质定义,但通过王达军的镜头,是否有可能逐渐地“接近”它,我想还是可以的吧!

      是啊,草木虫鱼为生而生,为灭而灭,自然山水千年不变,自然平静。人类的出现具有认识和改变自身与环境的力量,同时又无法穷尽认识,而且人的行动又必然会带来许许多多困难和风险。如果就此引入庄子哲学,躬身引退,实际上是取消人的现实生活及存在价值。人与自然的关系与其他生物相比具有特殊性,即便人们面临困境与风险,也使人们得以有蓬勃的生机和无穷的追求,这不正是天地的韵味和人类的生趣吗?人生如此,艺术如此,摄影也如此。世界不会变得十全十美,人的能动性也不是毫无意义的。王达军30年的实践告诉我们,山山水水总在是与不是之间,在融入自然和认识自然的过程中,最为艰难的途径,也正是最有价值所在。最后让我们一睹自然的神奇之笔——2003年12月的四川阿坝州九寨沟县,冰封季节,只有黑白蓝三色的交响回旋。冰面上黑色的圆如同八卦般的天启,又如同吸纳天地之气的灵洞,将视觉想象的空间拓展得无比丰富,却又自然天成。摄影家选择了他的镜头,义无反顾地走入自然,已经有了许许多多的浪漫传奇,必然还会有更多的扑溯迷离。悟道自然的奇境,路漫漫其修远兮……

    ​林路(上海师范大学摄影专业教授,上海市摄影家协会副主席)



    Comprehending the Marvels of Nature:

    Thirty Years of Wang Dajun's Landscape Photographs

    Essay/ Lin Lu

      In the history of Chinese photography, many noteworthy elements have influenced the course of Chinese photography. Certain historical and cultural environments and backgrounds have been ignored; once they are unearthed, perhaps they will provide unprecedented inspiration. For example, in the 1980s, a recently-revived Chinese photography stood ignorantly at a crossroads, not knowing where it had come from or where it was going. Therefore, certain courageous, wise, and strong photographers stood up, and relied on institution to direct and perform a beautiful and lively image drama. Regardless of whether the times create the heroes or the heroes move the times, these people have naturally left an indelible and living imprint on modern Chinese photography. The school that was perhaps most conspicuous was not the documentary photography that was later so dominant, nor was it the conceptual photography that was to flower for a time, then be quashed by ideological restraints. It was landscape photography, which continued to admire nature. This admiration expressed through the lenses of Chinese photographers awakened countless thirsty souls, allowing us to feeling the grand power of communication between man and nature.

      Let us begin with one of Wang Dajun's works from that period. In November 1988, a highway in Dangxiong County, Tibet runs straight through a vast desert, dividing one third of the golden surface of the picture from the rest. We are faced with a fully-laden truck and the confident back of a herdsman passing alongside it. Livestock, dotted like stars along the roadside, slowly wander into the frame. This is a real depiction of a natural and human scene from western China in the 1980s, which very few people have seen. It is a magical and enticing momentary image, blending golden sections of light and shadow, and revealing a road to the human and divine realms that is both unobtainable and well within our reach.

      Although the photography world is much larger now, moving well ahead of the rest of China, I believe that we can still relate to this very symbolic masterwork. German photographer and critic Joan von Schubert had already made an important discovery. "In the 1980s, photography would never again be simply an auxiliary tool to serve the visual and memory functions of humanity or simply add poetic value; it was a medium for the integration of and communication between cultures." Italian photography professor and art critic Greenberg Simon also admitted, "The most notable features of photography in the 1980s were freedom and increasing artistic equality. After 150 years, photography finally cast off its inferiority complex." When you open this catalog, which is a careful crystallization of the last thirty years of Wang Dajun's work, you can see that, although his work from the early 1980s to the present is merely a drop in the ocean of Chinese photography, he has created a rich body of work for us to consider. In the late 1980s to the early 1990s, Wang Dajun and two other Chinese military photographers named Yuan Xuejun and Wang Jianjun (collectively known as the Three Juns) revealed their exploration of landscape photography, which deserves to enter the annals of contemporary Chinese photographic history.

      Wang has only selected 100 works, cutting to the heart of his unique creativity in landscape photography. Here, I will consider his work from an aesthetic perspective.

      Are the aesthetics of landscape photography based entirely on light and shadow? Light and shadow are certainly the basis for photography; whether you understand the matter from the perspective of physics or art, the importance of these two elements cannot be exaggerated. In a scientific sense, if optics did not exist, neither would photography. The production of photographic techniques and the research and development of optical theory are inseparable. At the same time, if there was no light, there would be no shadows for it to produce and objects would have no form or features. The camera would be unable to sense light, so photographers could not even begin to discuss using light to create perfect forms. In photography, the language of light and shadow can transmit various information about the photographed object, including form, volume, texture, color, illumination, spatial depth, and natural states. People often misunderstand photography; we usually believe that the objects we see are as we see them, but actually the light acting on the surface of the object plays a significant role. The color, strength, and direction of light will influence our opinions of the true appearance of certain objects. When we see a familiar face, room, landscape, or thing, our eyes and brain will make up for poor illumination. Cameras cannot change peoples' visual impressions, and this determines whether or not the photographer has the ability to direct light. We feel comforted when photographs represent something familiar, but we feel wonder when photographs help us discover a beautiful side to a familiar scene. Therefore, light is the most important physical basis for photographic art. The use of light has become an important way for photographers to express thoughts and feelings and realize artistic ideas. When Wang Dajun first started chasing light and shadow in western China, the two wise eyes behind the lens captured the charms of light, producing a unique symbol of life and creating a natural image that countless people would praise. In one scene, we see dusk in Gongbujiangda County. The silver cables crossing the deep blue sky give the picture an extreme succinctness, with the clean lines and simple colors and shadows. Amidst the calm, the viewer gets a hint of something; if you look very closely, you can see the silhouettes of a farmer and a plow ox vaguely set off against the distant mountains. They become a visual focus for the photograph. Light and shadow cleverly create a mysterious atmosphere in which man can be one with the universe, turning the common into the magical. Turning to his romantic work featuring Siguniang Mountain in Xiaojin County, the mountain top is encircled by floating clouds. With this mystical shading, it seemed as if the mountain peak had been given a silky scarf. Light and shadow perfectly partition the space, as the picture can be divided into thirds horizontally. Each layer slowly unfolds from the glittering, glowing silver of the peak to the meandering undulations of the mountain ridges to the slopes hidden in darkness in the foreground. Due to light and shadow, each band has an emotional resonance. Just as Wang said, "The magical beauty of western China allowed me to emphasize the changes in light and shadow as I photographed landscapes. I attempted high-contrast, low-light, and cool-colored photographs, featuring pure hues, clean compositions, and infinite tonal changes. At the time, these kinds of images of western Chinese landscapes were very rare; they naturally blended light and shadow, color and feeling for a powerful visual impact. The photographs shone before the viewer's eyes, causing quite a stir among the public and receiving praise from my peers."

      The aesthetics of landscape photography also focus on the moment. The importance of the moment is a given. When naturalistic photography was born, the English photographer Peter Henry Emerson was the first to mention photography's ability to capture a moment. People gradually began to realize that, when the photographer presses the shutter button, the camera only records that extremely brief moment in real life. Although photography has much in common with two-dimensional art, specifically painting, in that these forms represent a two-dimensional fragment of a living scene or landscape. In painting, however, the artist can capture, choose, and collect subjects and paint and change the work repeatedly over a long period of time. The "moment" in any painting is no longer the natural moment that the artist directly observed; the painting contains the numerous conceptual elements bound up in the artist's repeated observation and experience of the subject. In contrast, photography takes an objective event in a moment and directly represents life; the entire creative process is contained in capturing that moment. The flows of time and the breadth of space determine that a given moment cannot be repeated. As an ancient Greek philosopher once said, "You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters are always flowing past you." In a sense, the momentary nature of landscape photography is closely related to the charms of light and shadow. As a photographer waits for changes in light and shadow, he is attempting to capture a moment that cannot be repeated. Moreover, once living things that are moving appear in a landscape photograph, such as the bobbing antelope flashing before the lens, gloomily silhouetted yaks, or the figures of children moving under the brightly colored flowers, they provide magnificent extensions to the momentary language of landscape photography. For example, a picture taken in May 1990 in Chayu County, Tibet shows an old tree that takes up nearly two-thirds of the foreground; it is covered with flowers opening beautifully. Four children are running around under the flowers in a perfect little dream. Here, people see a sense of movement, and these young children dressed in Tibetan clothes give the photograph a distinct regional character. All at once, they are separated in space and time from spring in southern China. This is the mastery of a moment. The picture is no longer a simple expression of movement; the deep poetry of folk customs is laced into the image, a flawless blend of landscape photography, people, and geography. Because of that long waiting process and the magical capturing of that moment, the click of the shutter at that natural wonder has already synchronized with Wang's heartbeat.

      In the aesthetics of landscape photography, quality is especially important, especially in the treatment of surface detail, and closely related an increase in quality of life. Beginning in the 1990s, Wang Dajun's photographs began to use large format instead of medium format, gradually approaching the perfection of visual space. "At every scenic site, I attempted to photograph depth, clarity, and perfection; I emphasized the work's systematic, integral, and artistic nature, pushing the image to the peak of perfection." The saying goes that success and failure are in the details. It is no coincidence that many of the world's best landscape photographers prefer to confront nature with medium and large format cameras. If the photographer uses the lens like a feeler to approach nature's most delicate points, the wonder of life is sure to have an unshakeable impact on the viewer. When you see an excellent and richly detailed landscape photograph, you will linger over the landscape for nearly a minute. With this mastery of detail, we are able to attain the highest perfection with the waters of Aba, the mountains of Jiangzi, and the clouds of E'Mei, where we find an even richer spiritual attraction. I remember that American photographer John Sexton once traveled to photograph the ruins left by the Anasazi in the American southwest, just as Ansel Adams traveled all over the American west. After a difficult wilderness hike, Sexton finally found the ruins along the edges of the gorge. He used a large format camera in an attempt to tell us about a precise feeling; people used to live here, and their fingerprints still remain firmly fixed on the moist windows. This indescribable awe is the unifying response to the quality of Wang's work. For example, in November 2003, the ice-covered land in Songpan County, Ngawa Autonomous Region, Sichuan was sparkling and clear. In the moment that the distant sun set behind the mountain, creating a single point of light, the majority of the foreground is a maze of details waiting to be found in the shadows. These details are naturally Wang's focus. From the ice, snow, and shadowy trees to the distant monastery, the scene unfolds, slowly progressing from natural to spiritual worship. From the minute details, we experience the grandeur of the monastery. In November 2007 atop Mount E'Mei in Sichuan, Wang photographed a scene foregrounded with icicles and snow that seemed like the undulating waves of the ocean, evoking the sounds of waves crashing against the shore. Because of the slow shutter speed, the sea of clouds in the middle ground appears living and impenetrably thick. The middle ground and the foreground form a clever contrast; between movement and stillness, everything is supported by rich detail. He almost brings us to the site to encounter the numerous mysteries and glories of natural and historical remains; we eagerly anticipate walking from this superlative creativity into an unknowable future.

      The aesthetics of landscape photography are bound up in light, shadow, and the moment. Can high quality influence these elements? Yes, but not entirely! Wang's thirty years of practice in landscape photography tells us that the highest realm of landscape photography is still intense literary cultivation. He said, "A successful landscape photograph must be able to arouse emotion in the viewer, such that he feels the full force of the meaning the photographer wanted to express and receives aesthetic enjoyment and mental stimulation. This requires the photographer to be learned in ideas, culture, and art. Over the years, I have worked hard to build this cultivated foundation, systematically studying literature, aesthetics, history, and music. I have conscientiously researched the history, geography, customs, religion, and culture of the western plains. I have viewed masterworks of landscape photography from China and abroad, contemplating and contrasting them, in an effort to improve my own work." If you want to learn poetry, you must study everything but poetry. Wang deeply understands this profound mystery, so he has cultivated himself in order to confidently travel into this vast universe. Only by accumulating experience can he discover the wit of light and shadow, capture that fleeting moment, and recognize high-quality detail, thereby transforming landscape and figures into an image with significant visual impact. By combining all these things together, nature forms a series of resplendent scrolls. Whether color or black and white, the vastness of the western mountains or the distant deserts of faraway lands, the photographs are an externalization of the photographer's spirit and comprehension. Nature also brings the viewer into this endless landscape space. I really like the moment that he captured at Qinghai Lake in July 1990. As the black clouds pressed down on the city, suddenly a blast of sunlight burst forth from the clouds. Under this golden light, a single seagull hovered, performing an elegant dance. This moment made me think of Maxim Gorky's popular masterwork The Song of the Stormy Petrel. "Over the gray plain of the sea the wind gathers storm-clouds. Between the clouds and the sea proudly soars the stormy petrel, as a streak of black lightning. Now the waves on wingtip touching… In the froth of anger — clever demon, — he has long heard weariness, he knows that the clouds won't cut the sun — no, the sun will triumph!"

      It is not by chance that these photographs echo with world literature. I also discovered that many of Wang's works have interesting points of commonality with the creations of outstanding photographers worldwide.

      Like English photographer Bill Brandt, Wang Dajun excels at leaving space to breathe in a picture with strong structural characteristics. He always enjoys finding an escape in an oppressive space. Some works even rather resemble the blurry ink effects in traditional Chinese ink painting; after heartier aesthetic tones, a sudden flash of illumination immediately pulls the viewer back to reality and out of the Utopian dream world. This is also true of the photograph taken in November 1989 in Ganzi County, Tibet, because it is simple and full of living power; the entire photograph is covered in green, even the sky is a grey-green. In the middle of the picture, like a bolt of green lightening, extends a link from the vast universe to the earth, as if a heavenly boulder, green as jade, has appeared out of the earth. From Wang's lens, we can understand how French photographer Jeanloup Sieff interpreted the moment. He hoped to capture landscapes that would never appear again. Sieff often mumbled to himself, "This moment has been. It has been precious." He even believed that the moment in landscape photography was more important than in portrait photography. "Never again will such a light, such clouds be the same. I make photographs in order to show what will never take place again, even though I know that photography has no value whatsoever as an objective documentation." Through Wang's lens, we almost see a trace of light and shadow perpetually lingering between presence and disappearance on a snowy mountaintop. We can hear the sound of a tree growing. In an uncharted area of Jiuzhaigou, Ngawa Autonomous Region, Sichuan in February 1991, Wang took a photograph of a tree, no, two trees. The tree in the foreground still has a few golden leaves, which give off a tenacious vitality in the light. The tree in the middle ground is already covered in snow, unyielding against the cold of nature. This varied and lively dance has almost never stopped, but it has already become a moment in nature that has disappeared, never to return. It might be most appropriate to interpret Wang's works as American photographer Christopher Burkett understands nature photography.

      "The world untouched and undefiled by man is one of indescribable beauty and wonder: a world filled with light and peace. The miracle of life unfolds before our eyes, and is seen in the tapestry of creation. All of our world, each living cell, every stone and drop of water, even the air and light around us, reflects and mirrors the glory and presence of the Creator and calls us to respond with wonder and praise. … The purpose of my photography is to provide a brief, if somewhat veiled, glimpse into that clear and brilliant world of light and power. To the extent that these photographs help show that way, is the extent to which these images succeed."

      As an ancient Chinese Zen master once said, "Before I studied Zen, I saw mountains as mountains and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains were not mountains and waters were not waters. Now, I have reached a level of understanding, and waters are once again waters and mountains are once again mountains." As in Wang's works, human understanding of the world is gradually and continually changing. Since more Realist elements appeared in his photographs of Erlang Mountain in Tianquan County, Sichuan, taken in March 1981, he has always searched for a deeper visual language. A military vehicle has already driven by, sheltered by the icicles in the foreground. Another vehicle drives straight up, revealing an expansive natural moat behind it. Soon afterward, when we stopped in front of Jueba Mountain in Mangkang County, Tibet in January 1989, we suddenly realized that Wang had drawn on mystical support from heaven and started to write about life's hardships. We were still in a car, and we were still in the wilderness, but the massive mountain range had already become a grand microcosm of natural power. Under the mist and mottled shadows, we did not see a confirmation that humans are masters of the universe; the scene was a poem about humanity's arduous trek through nature. This was not the end of the journey; we could almost see the world's future meditations that melded man and nature in October 2009 on Golden Peak of Mount E'Mei, Sichuan. Wang took a miraculous image that is difficult to describe; the temple on the Golden Peak faded and reemerged against the blue sky, as the golden Buddha bathed in the rising sun like a soaring ancient allegory located in the heart of every devout person. There are always latent dangers in our conceptual worlds; when the perfect character from an imagined world is lost in the real one, everyone becomes extremely confused. Therefore, the photographer hopes to use "true" landscapes to retrieve "truth" for himself. After thirty years of honing his skills, Wang is finally allowing us to see the black and white pictures he began taking in 2009. He quietly returned to a pure and minimalist style, and the ultimate value of these pictures may lie in this purity and minimalism. The famed American western photographer David Muench always said that he needed to bring a special sense of presence back to the photographs, such that the photos did more than convey geographical information; he wanted to "allow the pictures to speak for themselves."

      Friedrich H?lderlin once said, "Man dwells poetically on this earth." If this line had not been interpreted by Heidegger, it would not be as famous as it is today. For Heidegger, "poetry" was no longer an artistic pursuit; it was an important basis for resolving the meaning and value of human life, to the point that it becomes a life philosophy. We must finally consider the poetics of life, which help a limited life seek an eternal home. Now, for a photographer, can this final consideration be presented in his landscape photographs? Wang's answer is surely in the affirmative. Everything in nature continues to multiply, without beginning and without end. Every person is only a brief guest on this earth, residing here for a short time before moving on. If we want to extend this short time beyond a moment and move towards eternity and freedom, we should aestheticize existence, harmonize existence with nature as an integral whole, or clash with nature and cause people to think. In Wang's romantic work, shot in Songpan County, Ngawa Autonomous Zone, Sichuan in July 2004, mottled colors transform nature's growth into a lively rhythmic symphony. The shimmering layers of color were like an altar to the romantic gifts of nature. As the colorful waters gradually unfolded, we suddenly saw the original and unassuming Huanglong Temple, quietly hidden in the lush greenery. In the process of making nature more poetic, life becomes an eternity of tension and relaxation.

      Perhaps we are unable to add anything to nature, or perhaps we have outsmarted ourselves by adding something. So, what we can leave to nature may simply be a mood. In the instant that you confront nature and press the shutter, if you are calm, nature will not excite; if your heart is racing, then nature will show its full might. Rather than saying that this feeling was created by nature, we could say that it was a flash of enlightenment. If we understand this, then interpreting Wang's thirty years of photographs will be a truly amazing journey. He is not a theorist, but he can completely encapsulate nature from the perspective of aesthetic theory.

      For example, in On Natural Beauty and Shanshui Poetry and Natural Beauty, Zhu Guangqian time and again promotes "the unity of the subjective and objective." He believed, "When we believe that a natural thing is beautiful, that thing must have objective features that fit with our subjective ideas. These two aspects can be immediately reconciled into one entity, in the specific forms of nature." When we combine the photographer's innate insight with a deep consideration of nature, perhaps we might confirm these aesthetic ideas.

      In On Natural Beauty, Cai Yi forcefully advocated "pure objectivism." He said, "The beauty of natural things is innate to nature, and this innate quality is not influenced by man. …The beauty of nature is nature itself." So, if humanity cannot forcibly intervene in objective nature, how has Wang come and gone so smoothly?

      I thought of Li Zehou, a noted scholar of aesthetics; he believed that one should express and explain the beautiful features of nature, which was best explained by "human nature," a term from Marx's Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Only through the heights of human "practical" philosophy can we accurately interpret the reasons for natural beauty. As to whether Wang's practice has reached this height, I am afraid that I represent but one person's opinion. Because Plato emphasized the difficulty of mastering the essence of beauty in The Greater Hippias dialogue, I can only use an old proverb to guide this essay. "Beauty is difficult." This is not a new idea, because including beauty within natural beauty is a radical idea. Lin Tonghua also said, "Natural beauty is a fluid category." So, theories such the unity of the objective and subjective, pure objectivism, practical philosophy, and even the pure subjectivity that is rather popular in modern Western aesthetics, cannot once and for all summarize the complex phenomena associated with our aesthetic appreciation of nature. We cannot provide a basic definition for natural beauty, but through Wang's lens, we might be able to approach it.

      Plants and insects live and die in their turns, but the natural scenery has not changed for thousands of years; nature is stable. Humanity emerged with the knowledge and the power to change our environment, but we are unable to limit our knowledge. Human action inevitably begets many problems and risks. If we take Zhuangzi to heart and retire from the world, we are actually negating the value of real life and existence. The relationship between man, nature, and other organisms is rather special, and when humanity is confronted with crisis and risk, we seek out flourishing vitality and pursue the infinite; is this not the beauty of heaven and the joy of life? Life, art, and photography all share these yearnings. The world is ever-changing yet beautiful and human initiative is not meaningless. Wang Dajun's thirty years of photographic practice tell us that landscape always hovers between existence and nothingness. In the process of immersing oneself in nature and understanding it, the most difficult journeys are often the most worth undertaking. Now, we will look at one more miracle of nature, taken in January 2013 in Jiuzhaigou County, Ngawa Autonomous Region, Sichuan Province. Everything was frozen over, and the three colors of black, white, and blue dominate. The black circles on the surface of the ice looked like oracles symbols or sacred caves that would admit the energy of the universe. This scene opens a rich space for visual imagination, but it is still naturally formed. The photographer selected his shot and resolutely entered nature. There are already so many romantic legends of these photographers that many more must have been lost in the haze. The road is long for those who want to comprehend the marvels of nature.

    Lin Lu

    (Photography Professor at Shanghai Normal University and Deputy Chairman of the Shanghai Photographers Association)

     
    (新闻来源:艺术家提供)