A City She Had #2 – 出于情感因素 (For Sentimental Reasons)

我和朋友Ophelia在一起喝咖啡时,谈到了童年梦想的话题。很多人都有梦想吗? 我问,“我年轻的时候从来没有真正的目标。”

“我想是的,”她回答。比如,我仍然想成为一名芭蕾舞演员

她让我大吃一惊,我的朋友,27岁,一名国际商务专业的硕士学生,“你想成为一名芭蕾舞演员?”

“当然——那不是很好吗?”我从小就想这么做。”

这次谈话发生在几个月前(去年秋天)。当然,她离莫斯科大剧院还远得很。不过Ophelia为我掸去了她的舞蹈紧身衣的灰尘——为一次在格拉斯哥市中心的拍摄。

一个最重要的建议:对机会保持开放的心态。抓住每一个拍摄的机会。灵感无处不在。

我现在和男朋友住在一起,他可以好几天不出门。有时他需要有人推动他出门。尤其是当我需要一些安静的空间来思考——一些想象照片的空间时。

芭蕾舞者的项目给我带来了麻烦。我想做一些原创的东西,而不仅仅是找一个带镜子的房间然后邀请Ophelia跳舞。我想把她内心的情感流露出来——那些她在跳芭蕾舞时一直保留着的情感——那些我在咖啡馆里从她的声音里听到、从她的眼神里看到的情感。

所以我的男朋友被推到了寒冷的家外。

不,不,不是得啦。事实上,他出去的时候并没有小题大做的。作为一个建筑爱好者,他从不厌倦这座城市的维多利亚式建筑和希腊复兴式圆柱,以及它的“格拉斯哥风格”。就在那天,他带着一些自己的照片回来了:一些令人印象深刻的石阶,还有他在散步时看到的高高的风景。

这是一个灵感的火花,甚是意外地: 我一看到它们就知道,这将是芭蕾拍摄的背景。

第一个地点在查令十字大厦后面。你可能没听说过它,但从格拉斯哥大学走到城里,你一定见过它:暗红色的石头和奇怪的玻璃门道;灰绿色的塔顶和窗户。

这些“豪宅”占据了Sauchiehall Street的整个角落。从维多利亚时代开始就是这样。(很久以前,这座建筑的一部分曾用作银行——直至今天,所有的基础设施都完整保留了下来。想象一下tinderbox在曾为黄金而建的金库中储存杯子。)

这些大厦呈新月形,在某种程度上与一座陡峭的小山衔接到一起。在山顶,沿着灯光暗淡的台阶的斜坡,可以看到壮丽的开阔视野。从这一有利位置可以看到城市的西部——公园、大学和一排排带有露台的公寓。

拍摄的那天,光线很暗淡,天空阴冷而美丽。周围有几个人——一家人,一对夫妇,一个坐在窗台上的送货员——但似乎没有人对我们感兴趣。甚至当Ophelia爬上栏杆,她的芭蕾舞裙在风中飘动,她开始摆出优雅的姿势时也没有。

一开始我试着让Ophelia不要动,保持稳定。我想为完美的构图找到一个完美的角度——将背后的风景融入其中。但在我相机的小小屏幕上,她所有的静态姿势看起来都太不自然、太严肃了。这是我作为一名摄影师缺乏经验的一个体现,当下的我不知道该怎么做才能帮上忙。

然而,正当我绞尽脑汁的时候,我碰巧抬起头来,看见Ophelia从一根柱子跳到另一根石柱上——小柱子点缀在视角里。她一边跳动一边和被风吹起的芭蕾舞裙作斗争,脸上带着微笑。而我只需要拿出相机,捕捉这一刻。

我觉得她在这里看起来很有活力: 

提示2, 这一点我花了很长时间才明白: 让模特散发出她自己的光芒,自然自在。抓拍住她的美丽是摄影师的工作。

接下来,一个叫做公园马戏团的地方,它骄傲地坐落在凯文格罗夫公园(Kelvingrove Park)顶端的一座小山上,建于1855年,它们是人们可能见过的最美丽的建筑之一。他们是我孩提时代脑海中欧洲的形象和梦想。我们在那里进行了拍摄; 或者更具体地说,Ophelia在公园的大台阶上跳了舞。

如果你不知道去哪里找,你可能找不到它们。所以,站在凯文格罗夫的最高处,走一条通往西南的路。待在上面,沿着林木线走,然后穿过一个很小的门,来到一条住宅区的路。苍白的石头砌成的露台房屋,仍在阳光的照射下闪闪发光。在你的左手边是一座阶梯山。

这次我只是请Ophelia跳舞。旋转的芭蕾舞女演员,云雾缭绕的天空,还有一对在后面台阶上挤作一团的年轻情侣。这是我第一次给芭蕾舞者拍照,也是Ophelia第一次以舞者的身边被拍。拍摄中途,她分享了一段回忆:多年前,还是个孩子的时候,她芭蕾班上的每个女孩都有专业的肖像。但是Ophelia甚至没有一张照片来纪念她的时间——她的父母太忙了,无暇顾及。

尽管时隔多年,这次拍摄还是弥补了一个小遗憾。我很感动能参与其中,也很高兴我从她的梦想中创造了艺术。这就引出了我的最后一个建议,无论你是摄影师、画家、舞者,还是任何你想成为的人,它都适用:

梦想是梦想是梦想。珍惜和分享它。

I was having coffee with my friend Ophelia and we got onto the topic of childhood dreams. Do many have them, I asked – ‘I never really had a goal when I was young.’

‘I think so,’ she replied. ‘Like, I still want to be a ballerina.’

She took me by surprise, my friend, twenty-seven, a master’s student in International Business, … ‘You want to be a ballerina?’

‘Of course – wouldn’t it be good? I’ve wanted to since I was little.’

Now, that conversation took place a couple months ago (last autumn). And she’s still far from making the Bolshoi. But Ophelia dusted off her leotard for me – for a photoshoot around Glasgow’s city centre.

A most important tip: Be open to chance. Take every opportunity when it comes to working a photoshoot. Inspiration is all around.

I live with my boyfriend now, who could go for days without stepping outside. Sometimes he needs a nudge out the door. And that’s especially true when I need some quiet to think – some space to dream up photos. 

Well, the ballerina project was giving me trouble. I wanted to do something original, to not just find a mirrored room and ask Ophelia to dance. I wanted to bring out the feelings inside her – the ones she holds on to when it comes to ballet – those I heard in her voice and saw in her eyes at the café. 

So my boyfriend was shoved out into the cold. 

No, no, not really. In reality, he went without a fuss… A fan of architecture, he’s never bored with this city and its Victorian builds and Greek Revival columns – with its ‘Glasgow-style’. And it just so happened on that day, he came back with some pictures of his own: ones of impressive stone steps and a high-up view, which he found on his walk. 

It was a spark of inspiration, just by chance: I knew straight away, upon seeing them, that these would backdrop the ballet.

The first location was up the back of Charing Cross Mansions. You might not have heard of it, but walking into town from university, you must surely have seen it: darkening red stone and strange glass doorways; a grey-green crown of towers and windows. 

These A listed ‘mansions’ take up a whole corner of Sauchiehall Street. And it’s been that way since Victorian times. (At one point, part of the building served as a bank – and today all the infrastructure remains. Picture Tinderbox storing paper cups in vaults built for gold.) 

Shaped in a crescent, the mansions form somewhat of a border to a very steep hill – and at the top, up an incline of poorly lit steps, a magnificent, open viewpoint lies waiting. From this vantage is the west of the city – the park, the university, and rows of terraced houses.

On the day of the shoot, the light was dim, and the sky was bleak and beautiful in its way. There were a few people around – a family, a couple, a delivery man resting on a ledge – but none seemed that interested in us. Not even when Ophelia climbed up to the railing, her tutu in the wind, and began posing in elegant ways.

I tried to keep her still at first, to hold her steady. I wanted to find the perfect angle for the perfect composition – so to incorporate the scenery behind. But all her poses looked unnatural and stern on my camera’s little screen. It’s my inexperience as a photographer that made me unsure on what to do next.

Yet while wracking my brain, I happened to look up and see Ophelia jump from pillar to stone pillar –bollards dotted around the viewpoint courtyard. She was fighting her tutu as she played, and a smile was on her face. And all it took was to pull up my camera and capture the moment. 

I think she looks so dynamic here:

Tip no. 2, a lesson that took me a while: Allow the model to shine in her very own light, to be natural and at ease. It’s the photographer’s job to capture her beauty.

Next was a place called Park Circus, which sits proudly on a hill at the head of Kelvingrove Park. Built in 1855, the place has some of the most beautiful buildings one might ever see – they are the image, the dream, of Europe that I had in my head as a child. That is where we shot, while Ophelia danced on the grand Park Steps.

You might not find the steps if you do know where to look. Standing at the highest part of Kelvingrove Park, take the path that heads down south-west. Stay on the path, along the treeline, and head through a very small gate to a residential road. The pale stone terrace houses, which at night still glow with what sun they manage to store, curve off from view. And to your left are a mountain of stairs.

Here, I just asked her to dance. The whirling ballerina, the cloud-filled sky, and a young couple huddled behind on the steps. This was the first time I’ve taken photos of a dancer. And it was a first time for Ophelia, too. Midway through the shoot, she shared a memory: years ago, as a kid, every girl in her ballet class had their portraits professionally done. But Ophelia hadn’t even a photo as a keepsake – her parents were too busy to mind. 

Despite the lapse of years, then, this shoot made a small wrong right. I was touched to be involved, and so glad we made art from her dream. Which leads me to my final tip (or ‘takeaway’ at least), and it applies whether you’re a photographer, a painter, a dancer, or whomever you feel driven to be: 

A dream is a dream is a dream. Treasure and share it, too.

[Mengqi Zou – she/her – @acityshehad]

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