Interview with Professor David Bate
大衛·貝特教授專訪


ART.ZIP: How is the Photographic Studies course connected to the fast changing world of photography, culture and history? And what has changed during the last five years in terms of course content, core modules, and needs of the students?

DB: In the 1960s the Canadian theorist, Marshall McLuhan argued we were living in a ‘global village’. Perhaps today this has more truth in it than it did then! The Internet clearly offers great potential for international dialogue and exchange. There are some clear consequences of the Internet and the other innovations across electronic media. Cameras today are complex computers, so as instruments they have changed the way that people think about photography and their use of it. In this sense the idea of photography is very different, it is possible to move images from screen to screen extremely fast. People can take photographs without thinking at all about the process of making them. This mobility of the image and automation of the processes of making pictures opens up lots of different possibilities, new ways to think of photography-language relations, still and moving images, ways of dissemination. The course aims to address these new questions, but also tries to situate them in a historical and critical context. Increasingly important to this field has been the role of photography in art, which has been changing the way that art sees itself, and the theory of art in the twenty first century.

ART.ZIP: 請問攝影研究是如何同瞬息萬變的攝影產業,以及大眾文化聯繫在一起的?威斯敏斯特大學的攝影碩士專業的教學核心、課程內容和學生需求在過去五年中都發生了哪些變化?

DB: 在20世紀60年代,加拿大理論家馬歇爾·麥克盧漢(Marshal McLuhan)指出,我們正生活在一個“地球村”中。也許這個說法在今天比當時更加真實,互聯網為國際間的對話和交流帶來了巨大潛力,於此同時,它的應用及其它電子媒體的創新對攝影帶來了明顯的影響。今天我們所使用的相機便是一臺復雜的電腦,因而它作為一種工具而改變了人們對攝影以及如何拍照的想法。

從這個意義來說,攝影的觀念發生了很大的改變,人們因此能夠很快地將相機屏幕上的照片轉移到電腦上。人們可以不假思索地完成一切拍攝過程。圖像的靈活性以及拍攝照片過程的自動化為攝影開辟了很多不同的可能性,同時也帶來了人們對攝影語言關係、靜動態圖像以及其傳播途徑的全新思考。我們的課程旨在解決這些新的問題,也試圖將它們放在歷史及批評語境中去討論。另外,攝影在當代藝術中所扮演的角色也愈加重要,它改變了藝術審視自身的方式,以及二十一世紀攝影理論的發展進程。

ART.ZIP: What kind of students are you looking for? What should they do to prepare before entering the programme?

DB: We want students who are highly motivated – inspired – to develop their photographic practice and who have ideas, but are also interested in reading and the concepts of photography too. We, like most photography courses in the UK, expect applicants to have a portfolio of their own photographic work that shows not only their visual skills, but also coherent aim and a set of values in the use of photography. A portfolio of different types of photography (e.g. fashion, documentary, editorial work) is of less use to us than a singular project (or several small projects) that show an attempt to communicate something in depth. International applicants are competing with UK based students who have probably already completed a BA (Bachelor of Arts) course, where they have been reading photography theory and history.

Students engage primarily in ‘personal work’ although the theme of the work is not necessarily personal or private to them and usually relates to others as a social issue, question or idea about the modern world. Some of these projects may be called ‘documentary’, others may create images of things that do not exist, or use performances to generate pictures. Many of these methods were developed during the art avant-gardes in the 1920s and 1930s, but are now interpreted in many different ways, and related to new, modern contexts.

ART.ZIP: 對於攝影研究這門課程來說,您所期待的學生是什麽樣的?他們在進入這門課程之前需要做哪些準備?

DB: 我們希望看到那些對攝影有很高積極性、受其啟發並能夠發展自己攝影實踐和想法的申請人,但同時他們也要對攝影的解讀及概念深感興趣。同大多數英國攝影課程一樣,我們期待申請人能夠展示出一個不單能表現他們攝影技能,還能夠反映其攝影目的及其價值觀延續性的作品集。對於我們來說,一個混雜著如時尚、紀實或報道攝影內容的作品集並不如展現一個單獨的拍攝項目(或幾個小項目)更能傳達及展現作品的深度。同英國本地的學生相較,來自國際上的申請人應該已經擁有了學士學位,並在本科學習的過程中完成了攝影史和攝影理論的閱讀。

對於那些主要拍攝“個人作品”的學生來說,即便他們的作品不一定是關於個人或私人的題材,但通常都與需要與社會問題、現代世界中的議題和概念有關。或許我們可以把這其中的一部分稱作“紀實”攝影,但另一部分則可以是創造出並不存在的圖像,或者是通過各種方式將照片收集起來。許多這些方法都在20世紀20年代和30年代前衛藝術的浪潮中發展起來,但現在卻在現代語境下被賦予了不同的解釋。


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