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..
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    风光摄影三十年
     
    作者:王达军  发布时间: 2018-12-27 16:51:55
     
     

      人的一生中有许多机会,许多偶然,也有许多选择,如果当初我选择了其他,或许我的人生会走另一条路。庆幸的是我选择了摄影,与相机为伴,以大自然为伍,三十余载勤耕不辍,终有了丰硕的回报。

    我的摄影之路

      我的少年时光是在重庆老家度过的,彼时印象最深的就是父母对川剧的热爱。我父亲是医生,母亲是药剂师,都在当地医院工作。他们喜爱川剧,业余时间常常邀请川剧玩友到家里,吹拉弹唱,自娱自乐。耳濡目染之下,我也喜欢上了音乐。拉二胡、吹竹笛、敲扬琴……我多种乐器演奏都达到了一定的水平。正是这个爱好,左右了我在人生第一个十字路口的方向。

    参军入伍,与摄影结缘

      1970年6月,不满17岁的我在江津农村上山下乡做了一名知青。巧的是当年年底,成都军区汽车20团和沈阳空军来此招收新兵,因我在文艺方面的特长,两个部队都争着要我。结果我破例到了汽车20团,成为部队业余演出队的一名文艺兵。

      我家4兄弟,没有姐妹,我排行老二。那时,哥哥王达源已经是空军某航测大队的一名专职航空摄影师。当时部队航拍采用大画幅胶卷。哥哥在暗房里将航拍胶片的边角余料裁成120胶卷的规格,然后再到照相馆里去要回一些使用过的120胶卷黑纸,按要求分装好。他来部队看望我,有时候就用这种自制的120胶卷给我和战友们拍照。在他的影响下,我对摄影有了兴趣。

      1972年,哥哥送我一台上海产的海鸥牌双镜头120-4B相机,又给了我一些他自制的120胶卷。于是我便试着为演出队的战友拍一些生活照和演出剧照。我还记得,当时国内几乎都是黑白摄影,社会上能买到的120黑白胶卷主要是公元牌和上海牌的,一个就要1块8角多。这在当时来说非常值钱。好在我不用自己买胶卷,全靠用哥哥平时陆续送我的自制胶卷进行拍摄。冲印胶卷和照片也是自己手工操作。我晚上躲进宿舍的床底,用被子挡住周围的光线,自配D-76或D-23显影液冲洗胶卷。为了防止显影不足或过度,我靠数数来计算显影时间,并将复写纸蒙在手电筒上观察胶片密度。我还用木头做了一个印相箱,冲洗照片用的是从照相馆里买来的裁好的6×6规格的相纸……所有的设备都因陋就简,所有的步骤都靠自己不断地摸索来完善,终于能冲印出效果不错的照片。见到战友们捧着自己照片的那种兴奋劲,我真有一种说不出的享受。

      1973年,我们一批文艺骨干从兵站部分配到汽车18团。当年至1975年底,我在四川音乐学院作曲系和民乐系进修,同时师从中国著名二胡演奏家蒋才如学习二胡演奏。由于我的二胡演奏水平提高很快,蒋老师推荐我到当时刚刚成立的峨眉电影乐团。而就在这时,部队领导告诉我对我另有任用。于是我选择留在部队,从而走上了这条充满激情的摄影之路。

    追光逐影,迷恋西部风光

      1976年2月,我被提升为汽车18团一营营部书记。这是部队最低一级的政工干部。不久,我又被调到团政治处任宣传文化干事,并配发给我一部德国禄莱双镜头120相机,这在当时已经是非常好的相机了。1981年初,我被调到川藏兵站部宣传科担任宣传文化干事;1985年7月,又被调到军区后勤部宣传处任专职文化摄影干事。

      由于工作关系,从1970年参军入伍到1993年转业期间,我一共进西藏40余次,每次进藏时间少则20天,多则三个月,有时候是跟随汽车部队进藏,有时候是接受任务上高原采访。二十余年中,我在千里川藏线上拍摄汽车兵的艰难行程,在高原边防线上拍摄战士们戍边卫疆的火热生活,大量新闻图片陆续发表在《人民日报》《人民画报》《民族画报》《解放军报》《解放军画报》《四川日报》和《战旗报》等报刊上。因工作成绩突出,曾1次荣立二等功,3次荣立三等功,连续数年被评为成都军区新闻报道优秀工作者。

      在拍摄新闻照片的同时,西部壮丽的风光深深地吸引着我。皑皑的雪山,奔腾的河流,幽深的峡谷,辽阔的草原,明镜般的湖泊,彩云飞扬的天空……绚丽多姿的西部大地一次又一次地震撼着我,一次又一次地激发着我的摄影创作激情。在行走川藏高原的那些年,我较多地迷醉于追光逐影的风光摄影之中。

      1988年,由长城出版社出版、我担任特邀编辑的反映川藏公路的大型画册《西部奇路》面世,在社会上引起较大反响。《解放军画报》决定进一步挖掘“西部奇路”这个选题,于是我和画报社著名摄影记者袁学军踏上了川藏公路。川藏公路属318国道西线,全长两千多公里,路况奇差,弯急坡陡,险情频发,承载着重要的军事和民用运输任务。同时,318国道又是中国最美的一条公路,西线从四川盆地进入青藏高原东南部的横断山脉,翻越无数座雪山,跨越无数峡谷与河流到达拉萨,沿途风光变幻万千,美得令人窒息。我们俩用了近半年时间,沿途拍摄战斗在这条国道上的汽车部队、兵站、医院、仓库官兵的工作状况与精神面貌,同时也拍摄了大量的风光照片。《解放军画报》以“西部奇路”为题连载了6期。

      川藏线采访给了我俩很大的启发,我们决定再策划了一个更大的摄影选题。1990年4月4日,由中国人民解放军总政治部组织、成都军区和兰州军区协办、解放军画报社承办的“西部5万里边疆摄影采访活动”正式启动。袁学军和我,再加上我在成都军区文化部任职的好友王建军,三人开着一辆国产三鹿越野车踏上了西部边关采访的征程。我们历时半年多,行程近7万公里,历经了千辛万苦的磨练,先后深入四川、云南、西藏、青海、甘肃、新疆、宁夏、内蒙古、陕西等西部省区的军营和边防哨所,拍摄了一个个边防官兵守卫边疆的可歌可泣的动人瞬间和一大批西部风光图片。这就是当年名噪一时的“三军进西部”,也由此掀起了中国西部风光摄影的热潮。

      20世纪八十年代,国内有关摄影的专业性书刊很少,当时我们所能接触到的关于风光摄影的图书更不多见。由于受东方传统艺术观念的影响,国内流行的还是传统的风光摄影:风花雪月、小桥流水、云飞霞蔚……但当我面对壮美、博大、深邃和神秘的西部风光,便自觉与不自觉地摆脱传统审美观念,全凭自己对美的认识与理解,去拍摄眼前激起自己内心深处感动的景色和景物。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。

      1988年,第15届全国摄影艺术展览首次设立艺术风格奖。我是第一次投稿全国影展,当时选的是由8张图片组成的西部风光组照《喜马拉雅之光》,结果入选艺术风格奖。1990年,第16届全国摄影艺术展览,我选送的6幅西部风光组照《大地系列》又获金牌奖,《通途》获铜牌奖,《田园》获优秀奖。这一届影展共收到7万多幅摄影作品,最终只有255幅(组)入选参展。1992年,我又以20张一组的西部风光摄影作品荣获中国摄影金像奖。我还在当年10月,与中国摄影界的老前辈吴印贤、陈复礼、简庆福等10位中方摄影家一道参加了《中日摄影名家20人联展》。参展的摄影作品代表了中日两国当今摄影的最高水平,其作者大多是中国和日本享有盛名的摄影家。1993年,我的系列风光摄影作品收入《中国十大风光小品摄影家作品赏析》。

    注重品质,拍摄文化与自然遗产

      1993年底,我离开部队转业到地方,在《中国西南》画刊社任副总编辑。在此期间,中宣部和国家文化部推出国家图书重点出版工程——中国美术分类全集,负责其中“中国石窟雕塑全集”的重庆出版社经过多方比较,最后确定由我负责拍摄西南地区的石窟雕塑。1993年到1996年,我和出版社的编辑团队一道,行走于四川、重庆、云南、贵州、广西和西藏的石窟造像地。我将多年积累的风光摄影技术和经验充分运用到石窟造像拍摄中来,用120相机拍摄6×7画幅反转片,很少用闪光灯,大多采用自然光拍摄,讲究构图,追求光影变化,注重影像的品质。最终结集出版了大型画册《中国石窟雕塑全集(7)大足》、《中国石窟雕塑全集(8)四川重庆》、《中国石窟雕塑全集(9)云南贵州广西西藏》和《安岳石窟艺术》。这4本大型画册不仅为中国石窟宗教文化和石窟雕塑艺术留下了珍贵的图像档案,更填补了西南石窟雕塑艺术在摄影上的一个空白。正是因为几年石窟造像的拍摄经历,我对风光摄影的理解又有了一个新的提升,也启发了我后来的创作方向。

      1997年,我调入四川画报社任社长、总编辑。工作岗位发生了变化,眼界也由此而改变。由于行政事务增多,我不能像以往那样有大块时间到西部各地拍照了,于是我决定把拍摄重点放在四川。

      四川拥有无与伦比的自然风光和厚重的历史文化,九寨沟、黄龙、峨眉山-乐山大佛、都江堰-青城山、大熊猫栖息地等5处被列入世界文化与自然遗产名录。我在拍四川的世界自然文化遗产时,把自然风光置于宏大的历史人文背景之中,赋予风光摄影更多的文化内涵。每拍一地,我都会事先收集资料,全面了解当地的历史文化、地质地貌、生物构成、气象情况等。我拍摄通常利用周末和其他节假日休息时间,常常是周四或周五下午出发,晚上赶到拍摄地,连续拍摄两三天后,又在下周一凌晨赶回成都。拍摄时,我大都使用大画幅相机,主要使用林哈夫4×5特艺2000和林哈夫612相机,柯达或富士反转片,有时也使用哈苏120数码相机,坚持追求影像的高品质。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。

      2006年以来,我先后拍摄出版了遗产系列《梦幻四季九寨沟》、《九寨沟黄龙》、《九寨沟黄龙风光精品》、《九寨美》、《峨眉山-乐山大佛》等摄影画册。目前,我正在拍摄世界文化遗产青城山-都江堰,力争2014年出版发行。

    悟道风光摄影

      回首三十余年来的风光摄影之路,我感到要在风光摄影上有所斩获,天赋、勤奋和机遇缺一不可。而在这三者中,我更看重勤奋。因为从某种意义上说,勤奋可以弥补天赋的不足,勤奋可能创造出更多的机遇。“才气就是长期的坚持不懈”。对于一个摄影者来说,无论对摄影本体还是摄影客体,都有一个反复认知和不断深化的过程。只有深入生活,才能理解生活;只有理解生活,才能更好地表现生活。“天地有大美而不言”,我在长期的摄影实践中渐渐领悟到这一古朴的真理。而正是为了这“不言”的“大美”,三十多年来,我常常与风雪为伍,与天地齐驻,经常天未亮就支起了三脚架,夜半三更仍奔走于荒山野岭。我无时不在孜孜以求那物我交融、天人合一的神圣境界。在无数次往返于青藏高原和西部大地中,喜马拉雅雪山的英武雄姿,阿里无人区的神秘幽深,圣湖纳木错的壮丽神韵,黄河壶口瀑布的磅礴气势,贡嘎山的迷人风采,九寨沟黄龙的缠绵情趣,峨眉山乐山大佛的哲学思考……无一不感动着我,激励着我。其间,我既有成功的喜悦,失意的沮丧,更得到了大自然无私的馈赠。

      艺术离不开创造,缺乏个性的摄影作品是没有生命力的。而独特的艺术个性,只能产生于艺术家对生活和自然美的独特的感知能力、概括能力和表现能力。多年来,我一直努力在风光摄影中探索,力求形成一种属于自己的艺术风格。

      风光摄影源于客观景色,但同时又融会了作者的主观感受,体现了作者对生活的立场,对自然美的审视和理解。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。

      风光摄影创作是情景交融高度集中的表现。我把摄影作为表达艺术意境的手段,把自己融入在苍茫的大地里。在我的一系列作品中,既有自我情感,也体现一种民族精神,“取其义而不求形”地发扬中国风光艺术的传统。与此同时,我注重运用当代艺术的表现手法,无论在光线、色彩、影调、线条、比例的分离和组合中,都向人们展示某种更加简洁的关系,使作品具有现代气息和时代感。我喜欢光线的局部照明,大色块,高反差,统一的影调,不拘一格的构图,以此体现西部大地的神秘与幽深,表现一种气势和力量。清晨、傍晚和特殊的气候条件往往能够产生一些人们平常难以预料的景象,营造出奇特的摄影氛围,使作品具有一种特殊的艺术效果。我的许多作品,如《大地系列》组照的6幅作品,几乎都是在这种时间和气氛中拍摄的。

      在风光摄影中,我力求在有限的平面空间中体现一种生命感。我拍摄的《山韵》、《归雁》、《牧区》、《霞光》等作品虽然没有变幻的线条,没有艳丽的色彩,但我却努力使人们从那简洁的画面中感受到生命,感受到音乐与自然美的通感,感受到动与静、人与大地的和谐与交融。

      在色彩的运用和把握上,我努力使自己的风光摄影作品显现出与众不同的特点。因为色彩应该代表个性的理解,摄影艺术所创造的色彩,不应是大自然的简单还原,而是以艺术的真实,来表达自己的心境和独特感受。因此,我的作品的色彩总是变幻不定和艺术化的,是融入了个人感情的色彩,体现了我抓取瞬间时对自然美的一种感受和理解。在我的许多作品中,晶莹的白雪往往变成了褐色或金色,灰色的山变成了蓝绿色,红彤彤的夕阳照射下的景物变成了只有在明亮的月光下才可能出现的蓝色……《大地系列》组照中的《山色》这幅作品,是我在去西藏边防途中拍摄的。当时暴风雨刚过,满天乌云,空气格外清新,一束阳光透过云缝照射在一座灰色的山岗上,远处群峰起伏,山峦叠嶂,我感觉山色如同翡翠一般的美,赶紧用500毫米镜头将此摄入画面。后期制作时,我有意将色彩调为翠绿色,收到了意想不到的艺术效果。

      风光摄影是将自然形态的美转换为观念形态的美,把自然美变成艺术美,用艺术的真实来反映现实的真实。摄影和绘画都属于平面视觉艺术,是一种平面空间的展示。区别在于,后者是要在二维空间中塑造一个立体空间,采取的方式是加法,是从无到有;而摄影则是把一个立体的空间变为一个平面的空间,把一些纷繁复杂的景物浓缩在一个画面中表现,采用的是减法。风光摄影一定要追求个性化。在做减法的时候,面对同样的景色,不同的摄影师会做出不同的选择。在风光摄影中追求画面简洁、主体突出、色彩和影调单纯等,我认为这就是摄影减法和个性化的体现。

      风光摄影也是有感情的。一张风光照片是不是你自己独特的审美,有没有你独特的感受,能不能引发欣赏者心灵的交流,完全能从作品中体现出来。风光摄影一定是作者心灵和大自然的一种交流,是摄影师独特的审美和对景色的自我解读,反映的是摄影师心灵的感受。由于各自审美情趣、审美能力和文化功底的不同,摄影师对美的解读肯定是有区别的。我觉得这种解读,越具有自己的个性和独特的理解,越不容易重复和模仿,作品的艺术感染力就越强。

      风光摄影不能局限于那些名山大川或气势磅礴的景色。如果我们改变一种方式,去发现和拍摄一些细微、平凡和具有美感的景物,特别是当大家都去追逐名山大川风景的时候,这样的东西可能更容易引起人们的关注,会给人一种新颖的感觉。看起来很平常的风景,经过摄影家镜头的表现,完全会成为另外一种景象。所以风光摄影的个性化,也体现在对题材的选择上。对一个风光摄影家来说,难能可贵的是在平凡的景色中去发现美,提炼美,然后运用娴熟的拍摄技巧把它体现出来。这也是对个性化的一个重要要求。

      我们身处一个缤纷多彩的世界。20世纪七十年代以前,由于条件限制,我们拍摄的基本上都是黑白影像。八十年代以后,彩色摄影凭其自身优势很快在全社会普及。尽管如此,黑白影像依然在风光摄影艺术创作上有其独特的魅力。近几年来,我又重新关注黑白,探索数码黑白摄影的特点和艺术潜力,力求用黑白影像来表达自己的艺术感受和对自然美的理解与认知。由于早期我比较重视暗房基础和各种暗房技术的运用,对黑白影像有一定的掌控力。所以,在拍摄中,我有意识地按照黑白的要求来拍摄风景,并在后期制作中凭借自己对影像的独特理解,力求处理到位,使这些黑白摄影作品更具艺术个性。

      风光摄影要把山水林木等自然形态的美转化为观念形态的美,需要一定的艺术形式来表现,而艺术形式则需要一定的技术技巧来保证。扎实的摄影基本功,技术技巧的出色运用,是摄影作品成功的基本要求。常常遇到这样的情况,经过不懈的努力,一种难得的摄影机遇出现了。但由于摄影者基本功不过硬而出现疏漏,或曝光不准,或景深不够,或持机不稳,或镜头选择不当,或影像后期保管不严等,都可能功亏一篑,遗憾终身。所以,我十分看重摄影技术技巧,平时重视抓好养成,培养自己严谨的职业作风。我拍胶片时喜欢用定焦镜头,手动测光和手动调焦,用数码相机则尽量用较低的感光度,拍摄时尽可能使用三脚架和快门线,特殊情况下,手持相机的快门速度一般不低于1/125秒,曝光则依据作品的不同需要力求尽可能准确。

      我不但重视前期拍摄,而且也重视后期制作。美国风光摄影大师安塞尔·亚当斯有一个非常重要的观点,他认为前期拍摄只完成了整个摄影创作过程的一半,而另一半应该在后期来完成。他把前期拍摄比作乐谱创作,后期制作比作乐队演奏。曲谱写出来了,必须经过乐队的演奏,最终才能成为一个完整的音乐作品。这一点我深有体会,一幅成功的风光摄影作品,应该是前期拍摄和后期完美制作的高度统一。后期的制作加工实际上是一个深度创作的过程,我认为我们搞风光摄影的,过去要熟练掌握暗房技术,现在则应熟练使用电脑,特别要重视图片的色彩管理,掌握图片制作的一些基本方法,使作品尽可能呈现完美的艺术品质。

      王达军简介

      王达军,中国当代风光人文摄影家,重庆江津人,中国摄影家协会副主席,四川省摄影家协会主席,四川画报社社长,《四川画报》和《新潮》生活周刊总编辑。

      王达军1972年学习摄影,数十年钟情于青藏高原和巴蜀大地,拍摄了大批中国西部风光、藏地风情和巴蜀人文的图片,并形成了自己独特的摄影艺术风格,是中国二十世纪后期西部风光人文摄影具有代表性的摄影家之一。

      1988年,编辑出版摄影画册《西部奇路》;

      1988年,《喜马拉雅之光》系列作品获第15届全国摄影艺术展览艺术风格奖;

      1990年,《大地系列》组照获第16届全国摄影艺术展览金牌奖;

      1992年,荣获第二届中国摄影艺术金像奖;

      1992年,作为中国十大摄影名家之一参加“中日摄影名家二十人联展”。参展作品代表了中日两国当今最高摄影水平,其作者大多是中国和日本享有盛名的摄影家;

      1993年,系列风光摄影作品收入《中国十大风光小品摄影家作品赏析》;

      1997年,拍摄出版摄影画册《安岳石窟艺术》;

      1998年,为佳能公司摄影产品亚大区形象代言人;

      1999年,拍摄出版摄影画册《丽江白沙壁画》;

      2000年,拍摄出版摄影画册《中国石窟雕塑全集7大足》;

      2000年,拍摄出版摄影画册《中国石窟雕塑全集8四川重庆》;

      2000年,拍摄出版摄影画册《中国石窟雕塑全集9云南贵州广西西藏》;

      2000年,拍摄出版摄影画册《康巴风情》;

      2001年,拍摄出版摄影画册《收租院群雕》;

      2004年,拍摄出版摄影画册《小平故里》;

      2006年,拍摄出版摄影画册《四川藏地寺庙》;

      2006年,拍摄出版摄影画册《梦幻四季九寨沟》;

      2007年,拍摄出版摄影画册《九寨沟黄龙》;

      2007年,拍摄出版摄影画册《九寨沟黄龙风光精品》;

      2008年,拍摄出版摄影画册《安岳石窟》;

      2008年,拍摄出版摄影画册《九寨美》;

      2011年,拍摄出版摄影画册《峨眉山-乐山大佛》;

      2012年,荣获第九届中国摄影艺术金像奖。

    Thirty Years of Landscape Photography

    Wang Dajun

      In a person's life, there are many opportunities, many chances, and also many choices. If I had made different choices early, perhaps my life would have taken another path. I am lucky that I chose photography, following nature with my camera by my side. I have diligently worked in this field for more than thirty years, and in the end, there have been substantial rewards.

      My Photographic Path

      I spent my youth in my hometown of Chongqing, and my deepest memory of that time was my parents' love of Sichuan opera. My father was a doctor and my mother was a pharmacist, both working in a local hospital. They loved Sichuan opera, and in their spare time they often invited other Sichuan opera enthusiasts to our home to listen to music, play instruments, sing, and have fun. Influenced by my surroundings, I also loved music. I played the erhu, bamboo flute, and piano, and achieved a certain proficiency in many musical instruments. It is precisely this love that brought me to my first crossroads in life.

      Enlistment and My Bond with Photography

      In June 1970, I was not yet 17 when I was sent down to the Jiangjin countryside as an educated youth. At the end of that year, the Chengdu Military District Automotive Unit No. 20 and Shenyang Air Force came to the countryside to recruit. Because I showed a special aptitude for the arts, both units wanted me. In the end, I joined Automotive Unit No. 20, and became a member of the unit's recreational performing troupe.

      I was the second oldest of four brothers and no sisters. At the time, my older brother Wang Dayuan was already a professional aerial photographer in one of the air force's air survey units. His unit used large-format film for aerial photography. In the darkroom, he cut the leftover edges of the aerial photography film into 120 film. Then, he would go to a photo studio, obtain used backing paper, and pack the film properly. Dayuan often came to my unit to see me, and sometimes he used this homemade 120 film to take pictures of me and my army buddies. Under his influence, I became interested in photography.

      In 1972, my older brother sent me a Seagull 120-4B twin-lens reflex camera made in Shanghai, and gave me some homemade 120 film, so I tried to take some photographs of the daily lives and performances of my friends in the troupe. At the time, I still remember that almost everything in China was photographed in black and white. The 120 black and white film available for sale was usually Gongyuan brand or Shanghai brand, selling for more than 1.8 RMB a roll, which was very expensive. Luckily, I did not have to buy the film myself; I relied on the homemade film that my brother continued to send me. I developed and printed the pictures by hand. At night, I hid at the foot of my bed in the dormitory and used a quilt to block out the light. I mixed my own D-76 or D-23 developer to develop the film. In order to ensure that I did not use too little or too much developer, I counted to calculate the developing time, and I covered a flashlight with carbon paper to observe the density of the film. I made a print box out of wood and I printed the photos on 6 × 6 paper I had cut from photo paper bought from the photography studio. I was doing what I could with the equipment available to me, and each of the steps was perfected through continuous experimentation; in the end, I was able to print some pretty good pictures. When I saw my buddies so excited as they held their photographs, I was truly pleased.

      In 1973, some of us from the cultural troupe were transferred from the base to Automotive Unit No. 18. From 1973 to the end of 1975, I studied in the composing department and the folk music department at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music. There, I learned the erhu from the renowned erhu master Jiang Cairu. Because my skill with the instrument improved rapidly, Jiang recommended me for the E'mei Film Orchestra that had just been founded. However, my unit commanders told me that I was being assigned to another post; I chose to remain with my unit, and so I was able to follow photography.

      Chasing Light and Shadow; a Fascination with Tibetan Scenery

      In February 1976, I was promoted to a clerk in the battalion headquarters for Automotive Unit No. 18; there I was the lowest grade of political and ideological cadre. Not long after that, I was transferred to the unit's political office as a propaganda and culture secretary. I was issued with a German Rollei TLR 120 camera, which was an excellent camera at the time. In early 1981, I was transferred to the Sichuan-Tibet army base's propaganda department as a propaganda and culture secretary. In July 1985, I was transferred once more to the propaganda office at the base's logistics department as a professional photography secretary.

      From enlisting in 1970 to retiring from service in 1993, I had been to Tibet more than 40 times for my job, and each time, I was there for at least 20 days, and sometimes as long as three months. Sometimes I followed the Automotive Unit into Tibet, and sometimes I was assigned to do interviews on the plains. Over more than twenty years, I photographed the difficult journeys of the automotive units along the thousand mile branch of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway and the lives of the soldiers protecting the borders along the plains. Many of my news photographs were published in The People's Daily, China Pictorial, Nationality Pictorial, The PLA Daily, The PLA Pictorial, Sichuan Daily, Battle Flag Daily, and other publications. Because of my performance at work, I was honored with a second-class merit and three third-class merits. For many years in a row, I was named the Outstanding News Worker for the Chengdu Military Region.

      While I took news photographs, the majestic scenery of western China held a deep fascination for me. With its pure white snowy mountains, surging rivers, remote gorges, broad plains, mirror-like lakes, and cloud-studded skies, the gorgeous and varied west surprised me time and again, and inspired my photographic creations. In my years on the plains of Tibet and Sichuan, I was fascinated by chasing light and shadow in landscape photography.

      In 1988, The Marvelous Road to the West, a catalog portraying the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, was published by Changcheng Publishing House. I served as a special editor for the book, which received significant attention. The PLA Pictorial decided to further explore the theme of "the marvelous road to the West," so the Pictorial sent me and noted photojournalist Yuan Xuejun on a trip along the Sichuan-Tibet Highway. The Sichuan-Tibet Highway is the western branch of National Road 318, with a total length of over 2,000 kilometers. The roads were poor and often dangerous, with sharp curves and steep hills, but they often carried important military and civilian transportation. National Road 318 is also China's most beautiful highway. The western branch runs from the Sichuan basin to the southeast mountain ranges along the Qinghai and Tibetan plains. The road crosses over countless snowy mountains, deep gorges, and flowing rivers until it reaches Lhasa. The scenery along the way was so varied and beautiful, one could not help but gasp. We followed this road for nearly six months, photographing the work and living conditions of the officers and men in the automotive units, army bases, hospitals, and warehouses. I also shot numerous nature photographs. The PLA Pictorial published The Marvelous Road to the West in six installments.

      Our visit to the Sichuan branch of the highway inspired us, and we decided to plan another, larger photography project. On April 4, 1990, the 50,000 Kilometer Western Border Photography Project began. The project was organized by the General Political Department, coordinated by the Chengdu Military Region and the Lanzhou Military Region, and carried out by The PLA Pictorial Publishing House. Yuan Xuejun and I, as well as my good friend Wang Jianjun stationed with the Cultural Office of the Chengdu Military Region, set out in a Three Deer off-road vehicle on a journey to visit the Western border positions. We traveled for nearly six months, covering almost 70,000 kilometers, and undergoing many hardships. We visited barracks and border sentries in Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, and Shaanxi, photographing the moving moments of the soldiers protecting the frontiers and the western landscapes in which they lived. That year, we were known as the "Three Juns Traveling in the West," and we kicked off a fashion for western Chinese landscape photography.

      In the 1980s, there were very few specialized publications about photography in China. Influenced by the concepts of traditional Eastern art, traditional landscape photography was still popular in China, focusing on mood and the harmonious integration of feeling and setting, light and shadow. However, when I was confronted with the magnificent, expansive, profound, and mysterious western landscape, I consciously and unconsciously threw off traditional aesthetic ideas; instead, I relied upon my own understanding of beauty to photograph the colors and elements in the landscape that moved me deeply. 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.

      In 1988, the Fifteenth National Photography Exhibition gave the Artistic Style Prize for the first time. This was my first submission to the National Photography Exhibition, and I chose eight images from my western landscape series The Light of the Himalayas, which was awarded the Artistic Style Prize. At the Sixteenth National Photography Exhibition in 1990, I submitted six images from my Earth Series, which won the Gold Medal. Road won the Bronze Medal and Field won the Outstanding Photograph Award. The exhibition received more than 70,000 photographs, and only 255 works (series) were selected to participate in the show. In 1992, I won the Second Chinese Photography Golden Elephant Award for my submission of 20 photographs of western landscapes. In October of that year, I was one of the ten photographers invited to participate in Twenty Photographers from China and Japan, along with elders of the Chinese photography world such as Wu Yinxian, Chen Fuli, and Jian Qingfu. The participating photographs represented the highest standards in Chinese and Japanese contemporary photography, and the majority of the photographers were already well-known in their respective countries. In 1993, my landscape photographs were incorporated into The Work of Ten Chinese Landscape Photographers.

      Focusing on Quality, Photographing Cultural and Natural Heritage

      At the end of 1993, I left the army and was transferred to a local position as Deputy Editor of Southeastern China magazine. During this period, the Propaganda Department of the CCP Central Committee and the Ministry of Culture proposed a national book publishing project, a series on works of Chinese fine art. The Chongqing Publishing Group was responsible for the volumes on China's grotto sculptures; after numerous discussions, I was eventually confirmed as the photographer for the grotto sculptures in southwestern China. From 1993 to 1996, I traveled with the editorial team, visiting grottoes in Sichuan, Chongqing, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, and Tibet. I utilized my many years of technical experience in landscape photography to capture these sculptures. I used a 120 camera to photograph on 6 × 7 reversal film; I very seldom used a flash, and most often made use of natural light. I was very particular about composition; I pursued the changes in light and shadow, focusing on the quality of the images themselves. In the end, they were collected and published in the large catalogs China's Grotto Sculptures No. 7: Dazu, China's Grotto Sculptures No. 8: Chongqing and Sichuan, China's Grotto Sculptures No. 9: Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, and Tibet, and The Grotto Art of Anyue. These four catalogs are precious visual records of the religious culture and sculptural art of grottos in China, because they filled a gap in the photographic documentation of southwestern grotto art. Because of my experiences photographing grotto sculptures during this time, I gained new insight into landscape photography, which inspired my later creative direction.

      In 1997, I was transferred to The Sichuan Pictorial and served as Director and Editor-in-Chief. My position changed, and so my world view changed. Because my administrative duties had increased, I could not take large periods of time to shoot in western China, so I turned my lens on Sichuan.

      Sichuan has incomparable natural scenery and deep-rooted history and culture. I photographed Jiuzhaigou, Huanglong, Mount E'mei and the Buddha of Leshan, Dujiang Dam and Qingcheng Mountain, and the panda habitat, including them in the record of world culture and natural heritage. When I photographed natural and cultural heritage in Sichuan, I placed the natural scenery within a grander historical and human perspective, giving the landscape photographs a cultural context. With every location I photographed, I collected some materials, in an effort to completely understand local culture, history, geography, geology, organisms, and weather patterns. I often used weekends or public holidays to take these photographs, setting out on a Thursday or Friday afternoon so that I arrived that night. I shot for two or three says and then returned to Chengdu very early Monday morning. When taking my photographs, I most often used large format cameras, such as Linhof 4 × 5 Technical 2000, the Linhof 612 camera, and Kodak or Fuji reversal film. Sometimes, I used the Hasselblad 120 digital camera, and continued to pursue high image quality. At every scenic site, I attempted to photograph depth, clarity, and perfection; I emphasized the image's systematic, integral, and artistic nature, pushing it to the peak of perfection.

      Since 2006, I have shot and published photography catalogs including The Four Seasons of Jiuzhaigou, Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong, The Luxuriant Landscapes of Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong, The Beauty of Jiuzhai, and Mount E'mei: The Buddha of Leshan. Currently, I am photographing the World Heritage Sites at Qingcheng Mountain and Dujiang Dam, and I am hoping to have the photographs published in 2014.

      Understanding Landscape Photography

      Looking back on thirty years of landscape photography, I feel that, to be successful in landscape photography, you cannot want for talent, diligence, or opportunity. Of these three, I most value diligence. Because, in a certain sense, diligence can make up for gaps in talent and diligence can create further opportunities. They say that talent is only persistence over the long term. For a photographer, photography itself is a process of repeated recognition and continuous introspection. Only if you engage with life can you understand life. Only if you understand life can you better express life. "There is unspeakable beauty in the universe." In my long photographic practice, I have slowly come to realize a simple truth. It is precisely for this "unspeakable beauty" that, more than thirty years later, I often have the wind, the snow, and the land as my companions. Very often, when the sky is not yet light, I set up my tripod, and at first light I walk towards the desolate mountains. I never go out in search of the mysterious boundary between an object and me that unites man and nature. In my countless trips to the plains of Qinghai and Tibet and the lands of western China, I was moved by the marital air of the Himalayan Mountains, the mysterious remoteness of Ali, and the majestic charm of the Namucuo Sacred Lake. I was encouraged by the boundless progress of the waterfall at the Yellow River mouth, the enchanting demeanor of Konka Mountain, the gentle appeal of Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong, and the philosophical air of Mount E'Mei and the Leshan Buddha. During this time, I experienced the joy of success and the tears of disappointment, receiving the selfless gifts of nature.

      Art and creation are inseparable, and photographs that lack character also lack vitality. Unique artistic character can only come from the artist's distinctive powers to perceive, absorb, and express life and nature. Many years later, I am still exploring landscape photography, in an effort to form a style of my own.

      Landscape photography originates from objective scenes, but these scenes are blended with the photographer's subjective emotions, embodying the photographer's viewpoint on life and his understanding of natural beauty. 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.

      The creation of landscape photography is the highest integration of mood and setting. I use photography as an artistic medium that allows me to immerse myself in a boundless nature. My work reflects my own feelings and a kind of national spirit, as I seek meaning over form in advancing the tradition of Chinese landscape art. At the same time, it is very important to me that I use the expressive methods of contemporary art. I hope to present the concise relationships between the separation and unification of light, color, shadow, and contrast, which gives the work a modern air. I like the localized use of illumination; I enjoy large blocks of color, high contrast effects, unifying tones, and unconventional compositions, as all of these elements represent the mystery and solemnity of western China and shows its dignity and power. Early morning, nightfall, and unique weather conditions often produce unpredictable scenes and a unique photographic atmosphere, thus giving my work a distinctive artistry. Many of my works, such as the six photographs from Earth Series, have been taken at these times of day and weather conditions.

      In landscape photography, I attempt to present a sense of vitality in a limited planar space. Although my works Mountain Verse, Returning Geese, Pasture, and Ray of Light do not have moving lines or beautiful colors, I still hoped to give the viewer a sense of life from a simple scene. I hoped that the viewer will meld music with the beauty of nature, experience the harmony of movement and stillness, man and nature.

      In terms of color, I want my landscape photographs to stand out from the rest. Because colors should reflect an understanding of character, the colors in photographic art cannot simply reflect nature. Photographers should use artistic truth to express their inner thoughts and individual feelings. Therefore, the colors in my works are constantly changing, blending with my personal emotions and representing my feelings and understanding of natural beauty in that captured instant. In many of my works, glittering white snow becomes brown or gold, a grey mountain becomes green-blue, and the elements illuminated by a bright red setting sun become a shade of blue that only occurs under the light of the moon. Mountain, a part of Earth Series, was taken while I was traveling to the lines of the Tibetan frontier defense. A storm had just passed, and the sky was full of dark clouds. The air was extremely clear, and a ray of light pierced through the clouds and illuminated a low mountain. Distant mountain peaks rose and fell, with each mountain seeming to tower over the last. The mountains felt like jade, and I immediately used a 500 mm lens to take the photograph. In the production process, I actively adjusted the colors to make the mountains jade green, and obtained an unexpected artistic effect.

      Landscape photography transforms beauty in its natural state to beauty in its conceptual state. It turns natural beauty into aesthetic beauty, using the truth of art to reflect the truth of reality. Photography and painting are two-dimensional media, the presentation of a planar space. The difference is that the latter creates a three-dimensional space in two-dimensional space. The latter's methods are additive, making something out of nothing. Photography takes a three-dimensional space and makes it two-dimensional, condensing a complex scene into a picture in a subtractive way. Landscape photography must pursue individuality. When using a subtractive method on the same landscape, different photographers will make different choices. I believe that pursuing pictorial succinctness, thematic prominence, and coloristic and tonal purity in landscape photography is the embodiment of photographic subtraction and individuality.

      Landscape photography also contains emotion. A landscape picture can completely embody your unique aesthetic and communicate with the viewer's soul. Landscape photography is a form of communication between the photographer's soul and nature; it is the photographer's unique aesthetic interpretation of the scene, reflecting his emotions. Because of differences between photographers in terms of aesthetic interests, aesthetic abilities, and cultural backgrounds, their interpretations of beauty will vary. I think that the more individual your interpretation, the harder it is to repeat or copy your style and the more artistic power your work will have.

      Landscape photography is not limited to famous mountains, mighty rivers, or powerful natural phenomena. If we change our methods, and photograph minute, ordinary, and beautiful things, especially when everyone else is chasing the famous and the magnificent, we can make people notice these things, and bring the viewer a new experience. A landscape that seems ordinary can become something else entirely through a photographer's lens. Individuality in landscape photography is also embodied in the choice of subject. For a landscape photographer, it is laudable to discover and refine beauty in ordinary landscapes, then use technical skill to showcase that landscape; this is an important requirement for individuality.

      We live in a wondrous and colorful world. Before the 1970s, we shot in black and white due to material restrictions. After the 1980s, color photography became popular very quickly because of its own natural advantages. Despite this, black and white photography still has its unique charms within landscape photography. In the last few years, I have once again focused on black and white, exploring the qualities and artistic potential of digital black and white photography, in an attempt to express my artistic perceptions and understanding of nature through images. Because I focused on darkroom techniques early on, I have a certain familiarity with black and white photography. So, when I am taking the photographs, I shoot with the requirements of black and white photography in mind. The later production process relies on my unique understanding of the image to attain a desired effect that makes the black and white photograph more artistic.

      If landscape photography aims to transform the natural beauty of mountains, rivers, and forests into conceptual beauty, a certain artistic form is required, and artistic form is guaranteed by technical skill. A solid foundation in photography and outstanding technical skill are basic requirements for the success of a photograph. I often encounter situations where a rare photographic opportunity presents itself due to sheer perseverance. If a photographer's skills are not honed, oversights are likely; the exposure time may be incorrect, the depth of field may be off, the camera position may be unstable, the lens may be poorly chosen, or the images may be improperly stored. Images can be unsuccessful for all of these reasons. As a result, I truly value technical skill, and emphasize improving my rigorous professionalism. When I shoot on film, I enjoy using a prime lens, and manually adjusting the light meter and focus. When I shoot with the digital camera, I try to use as low a light sensitivity as possible and I usually employ a tripod and remote shutter release. In special situations, the shutter speed when I am holding the camera will not be lower than 1/125 seconds, and I try to be as accurate with the exposure as possible based on the work's demands.

      I value both shooting the photograph and the later production process. American landscape master Ansel Adams made an important point; he believed that taking the photograph was only half of the photographic process. The other half was completed later. He likened taking the photograph to creating a musical score, and the later production work to the musicians performing the piece. Once the composition is written, musicians are required to perform it, thereby completing the piece of music. I know this from experience; a successful landscape photograph should maintain the same high quality from shooting to production. The production process is actually a deeply creative one, so I believe those of us who once used darkrooms need to become skilled on the computer as well, especially when it comes to color adjustments. We must master the basic skills of photography production to bring our works to the height of perfection.

      Wang Dajun

      Wang Dajun is a Chinese contemporary landscape photographer from Jinjiang, Chongqing. He is the Vice-Chairman of the China Photographers Association and the Chairman of the Sichuan Photographers Association. He is the Director of the Sichuan Pictorial Publishing House and the Editor-and-Chief of Sichuan Pictorial and Xinchao.

      Wang began learning photography in 1972, and spent decades fascinated by the plains of Qinghai and Tibet and the lands of Sichuan. He has taken many photographs of western Chinese landscapes, Tibetan customs, and Sichuanese fine arts. He has created his own unique photographic style, as one of the late twentieth century's more important western Chinese landscape photographers.

      1988: Shot and published The Marvelous Road to the West

      1988: The Light of the Himalayas won the Artistic Style Prize at the Fifteenth National Photography Exhibition

      1990: Earth Series won the Gold Medal at the Sixteenth National Photography Exhibition

      1992: Won the Second Chinese Photography Golden Elephant Award

      1992: As one of ten Chinese photographers, Wang participated in Twenty Photographers from China and Japan. The participating photographs represented the highest standards in Chinese and Japanese contemporary photography, and the majority of the photographers were already well-known in their respective countries.

      1993: A series of Wang's landscape photographs was incorporated into The Work of Ten Chinese Landscape Photographers

      1997: Shot and published The Grotto Art of Anyue

      1998: Named Nikon's Asia-Pacific Spokesman

      1999: Shot and published The Frescoes of Baisha, Lijiang

      2000: Shot and published China's Grotto Sculptures No. 7: Dazu

      2000: Shot and published China's Grotto Sculptures No. 8: Chongqing and Sichuan

      2000: Shot and published China's Grotto Sculptures No. 9: Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, and Tibet

      2000: Shot and published Flavors of Kangba

      2001: Shot and published Rented Courtyard

      2004: Shot and published Deng Xiaoping's Hometown

      2006: Shot and published Monasteries in Sichuan's Tibetan Areas

      2006: Shot and published The Four Seasons of Jiuzhaigou

      2007: Shot and published Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong

      2007: Shot and published The Luxuriant Landscapes of Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong

      2008: Shot and published Grottos in Anyue

      2008: Shot and published The Beauty of Jiuzhai

      2011: Shot and published Mount E'mei: The Buddha of Leshan

      2012: Won the Ninth Chinese Photography Golden Elephant Award

     
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