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经济学人:疫情的影像(2)

日期: 来源:比比西英语网

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Photography, the critic Susan Sontag wrote, “has kept company with death ever since cameras were invented.” This year it has helped tell the story of covid-19. Photographers around the world have documented suffering and treatments that might otherwise have remained unseen. In their tragic subject-matter and informative role, images of the pandemic have resembled war photography—except that, instead of capturing far-away conflicts, photographers have turned their lenses on their own communities.As in a war, sharp ethical questions have arisen: about the camera’s intrusion on pain, and how the story of the disease is told.

评论家苏珊·桑塔格写道:“自从照相机发明以来,摄影就一直与死亡如影随形。”今年,人们通过摄影来帮助讲述新冠肺炎的故事。世界各地的摄影师们都记录下了那些我们原本可能无法看到的痛苦和治疗过程。疫情影像的内容带有悲剧色彩,并且能够传递信息,在这一点上它与战争摄影类似。但是不同之处在于疫情摄影师将镜头聚焦于自己所在的社区,而并不是像战争摄影师那样去捕捉远方的冲突。和战争摄影一样,疫情摄影也引发了尖锐的伦理问题:比如照片会让人感到痛苦,以及对疫情故事的叙述方式仍存争议。

The use of black and white is a key choice. Historically, says Jennifer Good, an expert on photojournalism at the London College of Communication, the palette “serves a particular function in the photography of war, because it negates the shocking redness of blood”. Some of the most famous images of the Vietnam war, for instance, were shot this way. But there are illustrious peacetime precedents, too. Ms Cunningham cites “Country Doctor”, W. Eugene Smith’s series for Life magazine in 1948—for which he followed a doctor in rural Colorado—as an inspiration. The subject, Ernest Ceriani, is depicted as a charismatic, slick-haired saviour. Black and white, Ms Good says, can be “a distancing measure. It cuts out some of the more striking or shocking aesthetic elements of the picture, creating an elegance and a timelessness.”

选择黑白摄影很关键。伦敦传媒学院的摄影新闻学专家珍妮弗·古德认为,从历史的角度看,“在战争摄影中,将主色调选择成黑白色会起到特殊的作用,因为黑白色调能够抵消猩红鲜血带来的震撼。”例如,有一些最著名的越南战争照片就是这样拍摄的。但一些拍摄于和平时期的著名影像也是黑白的。坎宁安引用了W·欧仁·史密斯在1948年为《生活》杂志拍摄的一个影像系列《乡村医生》作为灵感来源,影像中记录的对象是科罗拉多乡村的一位医生。影像中把名为欧内斯特·切里亚尼的医生塑造成了一个魅力非凡、梳着油头的救世主。古德女士说,黑白摄影可以成为“一种衡量距离的标准”。它能够隐匿掉一些影像中一些具有冲击感的审美元素,同时呈现出优雅和永恒。”

Along with these associations, black and white can focus attention. Mr Montgomery used strobe lighting to direct the viewer’s gaze, calling attention to individual actions within the often frantic ward. In one image, the arm of a paramedic performing CPR is tensed, the force of motion clear, but the outcome unknown.When health-care staff look straight into the camera, viewers feel transported to the hospital—admiring the doctors and nurses, yet unsettled by their own voyeurism.

除却这些联系,黑白影像也更抓人眼球。蒙哥马利用闪光灯引导观众的视线,让人们在紧张忙乱的病房中关注到个人的行为。在一张影像中,正在执行心脏复苏的医护人员手臂紧绷、正在施力,但结果未知。当医护人员直视镜头的时候,观众们感觉自己就身处医院,一边钦慕那些医生和护士,一边为自己的窥视行为感到不安。

For both viewer and photographer, there is a fine line between compassionate observation and indecent intrusion.Hospital wards are full of sensitive information which must be repositioned or omitted while shooting. Patients and doctors must give their consent before their pictures are taken. Being a nurse, Ms Cunningham says, “gave me a certain moral and ethical freedom. I knew there was a line I would never cross.”

对于观众和摄影师来说,心怀怜悯的旁观与不适当的侵扰之间界限分明。病房内充斥着敏感信息,在摄影师拍摄的时候,必须把它们重新放置或者彻底清除。在拍摄前必须征得患者和医生的同意。坎宁安女士说,护士的身份“给了我某种道德和伦理上的自由。我知道我永远不会越界。”

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