What can photography really achieve? In the unfamiliar city of Havana.I used my camera to achieve, or to testify to the ‘reality’ I envisioned. t was only about a kind of result – a result that all my subjects and I were waiting for - a result which is achieved through a camera lens and is called ‘photography’.
I and Cuba are separated by the distance between me and childhood memories.
As a photographer or someone with a camera, and also as a first-time visitor to Havana, Cuba, I'm wondering what I should capture: how should I capture it, and what I can capture, perhaps these two things are one and the same.
Perhaps, just like how Marc Riboud photographed China, capturing fleeting moments with a small camera or even a point-and-shoot, is the most "authentic" and fitting expression of my "tourist" identity. During this brief journey, I shouldn't see more than what the lens captures. However, people are more accustomed to defining authenticity through "depth." This depth pertains to ideology, to the imaginative relationships built upon ideology.
Just as seen in documentary photography, when people confront historical events, they can choose to confront the events themselves, but they can also reflect on them from a human, individual, and small-scale perspective. Just as a small flag can represent a hurricane, a rolled-up carpet can signify the departure of a president. Thus, when faced with unfamiliar things, we always have two kinds of depth. One is the overall macro stereotype, and the other is the micro looseness beneath the stereotype. Whether it's during the era of imperialist colonization or the post-Cold War period's perception of China, both of these depths coexist. Which of these depths is more real than the other?
Is a Cuba that resembles a political propaganda photograph more real, or is it the Cuba of young people waiting and wandering after the revolution? Both of these aspects exist in my experience as well. As a photographer from China, I begin with my own experiences to imagine scenes similar to these backgrounds, and that's the most fitting, isn't it? But I let these two coexist, placing them side by side, confirming and canceling each other out in mutual juxtaposition.
I gradually captured some young people in Havana. I placed them on the nighttime streets or in photography studios with colorful backgrounds. I greeted and shook hands with each person I photographed. I was captivated by this process - we were both suspicious, each wondering what we were really doing together. Were they performing in front of my camera? Was I directing them to achieve the images I had in mind? A camera can serve both as a tool for documentation and as a means of creating art. I have no intention of judging which one is closer to the essence of photography. Perhaps, in the end, this entire series of photos is just my imagined Cuba, even if it has no connection to "reality." I used my camera to reach or validate the "reality" I envisioned - maybe this is the true pleasure I, as a photographer, derive from it.
我陆续拍摄了一些身在哈瓦那的年轻人，我把它们置身于夜晚的街道上或者有带颜色背景的摄影棚中，我和每一个被拍摄的对象打了招呼，握了手，我着迷于这个过程 - 我们彼此在猜忌，各自猜测着我们一起到底正在做些什么，他们在我镜头前表演么？我在导演他们以达到我预想的画面么？相机可以达到纪录的功能，也可以达到绘画的功能，我无意于评判哪一个更接近与摄影的本质。也许最终这一系列所有的照片只是我最终脑海中想象的古巴，即使和“真实”毫无关系我也利用我的相机抵达或者说验证了我预想的“真实”- 也许这是我作为摄影师得到的真正的快感。