圣诞这个星期, This week

(Note: English below Chinese text)

回国来一个多月,看到很多图片,但拍的并不多,常常是在上、下班的路上,或和朋友聚会的途中,蜻蜓点水似的抓拍一些图片。所以这些图片,多是粗糙的。之所以蜻蜓点水,是因为总是很匆忙,还因为我发现在国内拍片比在美国要困难很多。人们总是有很高的警惕心理。我仍保留着在美国的拍片习惯——总要事先征求被拍者的同意,才端起相机。结果,大多数人都给我一声恶狠狠或冷冰冰的“不”,他们看我的眼神也很奇怪,似乎我是一个怪物。

然而,中国的社会景象似乎比美国更加丰富、精彩,很值得纪录下来。我真希望能花时间好好拍摄。我希望我有足够的时间和拍摄对象沟通,让他们知道,我没有恶意,只是想用我的相机拍下我看到的文化和社会景象,或者正在发生的、老百姓的历史。

圣诞这周,仅是在上下班的路上,和朋友下馆子的途中,就可以强烈感受到当今中国是一个让人眼花缭乱的蒙太奇世界。

在广州最新、最昂贵的珠江新城,赶潮流的人们仿效西洋人戴上心形荧光眼镜、荧光牛角、还有新奥尔良狂欢节面具,走到银光闪烁的圣诞树旁拍照。离珠江新城只有三个地铁站的员村,三个满身满脸灰尘、发育不良、眼睛凄苦的孩子在街头吃力地卖艺。他们用破烂的音响播放流行月,惹来驱赶他们的警察。在一个高档四川餐馆,吃客们欣赏着传统的中国艺术表演:变脸和长嘴茶壶舞蹈……这是我离开七年后再回来看的中国。

Ever since I moved back to China, I often feel guilty because I haven’t been able to photograph as much and as often as I hope to. It is much more difficult to photograph Chinese people than Americans, as Chinese people are either too shy or too vigilant to be photographed. They don’t trust any stranger, like me, who want to photograph them. I still keep my habit to ask for permission beofore I take pictures. Here in China, I am often rejected. And they often look at me as if I were an alien. “Why should you want to photograph me? What do you want from me? Are you a reporter trying to dig something sensational?” They ask. If possible, I would explain what I do and some would give me permission, even though they are shy. Unfortuantely, I have been very busy this month and I haven’t really been able to spend time photographing lives being lived. What I do so far is snap some pictures on the way to work or home, or when I hang out with friends. They are just snapshots.

However, even in these snapshots, you can tell how interesting modern China is. China is almost a montage made of images from different times. On Christmas night, in the newest and most expensive district, Pearl River New Town, people wear heart-shape flashing glasses and masks and take pictures of themselves by a glistering, silver Christmas tree. It is almost like New York.

Just three subway stops away, in Yuan Cun, a low income neighborhood, a young boy, a dwarfed woman and a young girl perform in a pop song with great efforts. The boy bends down to pick up a coin while riding a bike. The dwarf shrinks herself into an iron pipe back and forth. Their music is so loud that two cops come and drive them away. They try to resist silently. They eyes are stern looking, but the cops win in the end.

In a Sichuan restaurant, customers enjoy tradional Chinese folk performances while enjoying the delicate cuisine…While there, I feel as if I went back to 100 years ago…

This is what I see in China.

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