Tom Selmon’s Beijing Beauty

China. A very big coun­try fea­tur­ing 56 minor­it­ies and one Party line. A very tra­di­tion­al soci­ety which offers little to no room for, or at least frowns upon, those who do not toe the line. 

中国,一个拥有着 56 个民族的独党执政大国;一个十分传统的社会,这个社会几乎没有给那些敢于打破常规的人留下什么发展空间。

Think those women who have long bid Adieu to the prime age of 27 and still remain single (the so-called “leftover women”). Think our plain high-school Jane who doesn’t show up at her man­dat­ory extra­cur­ricular math, Eng­lish and piano les­sons (and that’s just Monday) and instead opts to sneak­ily get out of her track­suit uni­form and chill out on a hutong rooftop. Think homo­sexu­als in gen­er­al (seen “Shock The Gay Away”, any­one?). Or think drag queens – or any man/​woman who feels more com­fort­able dressed as the oppos­ite sex, for that mat­ter.

例如那些过了 27 岁黄金年龄仍旧单身的女性(又被称为“剩女”),那些逃课跑去胡同屋顶消遣的叛逆的高中生,那些同志和拉拉,还有那些喜欢变装的人。

 Chinese cul­ture sports some of the most andro­gyn­ous art forms you’ll find in the over­all glob­al cul­tur­al his­tory. 中国的双性文化是世界文化历史中雌雄同体艺术形式的集中体现。

I’ve per­son­ally always con­sidered these “judg­ment­al” calls made in Chinese soci­ety to be quite iron­ic, espe­cially given that some of the nation’s most prided and his­tor­ic­al art forms, think Beijing opera (jingju), are among the most andro­gyn­ous (avant-la-lettre) you can spot in glob­al cul­tur­al his­tory. In the par­tic­u­lar case of opera, it is cus­tom for male act­ors to take on the female leads. And they must train, mas­ter­ing the elab­or­ate makeup, words and staple opera “man­ner­isms” for years on end, in order to just be allowed to get up on that stage.

我个人一直认为中国社会中出现的一些对于此类现象的“批判”其实很是讽刺的。回顾历史,中国最具代表性的京剧就是世界文化历史中雌雄同体艺术形式的先锋。京剧中的一些角色需要男性来扮演女性角色,从化妆、神情、到言谈举止,男表演者们需要经过多年的刻苦磨练才能登上京剧的舞台。

Tom Sel­mon fol­lows and cap­tures their voy­age and out­look — both on life as in its most lit­er­al sense — on camera.Tom Sel­mon 用相机真实地反映了他们的生活轨迹和他们对生活的态度。

Either way, it’s usu­ally these social “quirks” (I think using the term “out­casts” would be overly dra­mat­ic) who are the most appeal­ing or inter­est­ing to us out­siders. Sexu­al­ity in China is a con­fus­ing and very much “alive” con­cept in a rap­idly chan­ging scen­ario that has only been con­ceived some three dec­ades ago. People, espe­cially those born after 1990, are seek­ing and devel­op­ing their indi­vidu­al­it­ies, a top­ic which can raise ques­tions in terms of their own gender and sexu­al­ity.

对于我们外国人来说用“奇葩”(quirks) 这个词来形容社会中的这类人更为贴切(我认为用社会“弃儿”(outcast) 一词有些过于戏剧化了)。在中国社会快速发展变化的浪潮中,“性”是一个让人觉得困惑同时又十分“活跃”的概念,中国人民的性意识也是在三十多年前才刚刚苏醒的。特别是 90 年以后出生的年轻人,他们正在努力寻找并标榜着自己的个性,其中有关性别及性方面的话题在这些年轻人是最受关注的。

我个人一直认为中国社会中出现的一些对于此类现象的“批判”其实很是讽刺的。回顾历史,中国最具代表性的京剧就是世界文化历史中雌雄同体艺术形式的先锋。京剧中的一些角色需要男性来扮演女性角色,从化妆、神情、到言谈举止,男表演者们需要经过多年的刻苦磨练才能登上京剧的舞台。

Click to view slideshow.

Their jour­neys may at times be con­tro­ver­sial or con­fus­ing yet always beau­ti­ful and out­stand­ing. (You may take the lat­ter lit­er­ally.) Enter Brit Tom Sel­mon, doc­u­ment­ary pho­to­grapher. Sel­mon has chosen to swim the some­times stormy waters of the cur­rent change in think­ing about gender and sexu­al­ity among China’s 20-somethings. He fol­lows and cap­tures their voy­age and out­look (both on life as in its most lit­er­al sense) on cam­era.

这些年轻人所显露出来的另类风格虽然可能备受争议,让人觉得难以理解,但他们的确展现了一种超常的美(或许你可以从字面上来理解)。在来势汹汹的潮流变化中,纪实摄影师 Tom Sel­mon 在用自己独特的视角拍摄记录着中国 20 多岁年轻人有关性别与性的思考。他用相机真实地反映了他们的生活轨迹和他们对生活的态度。

Keep read­ing for my full inter­view with the man him­self as pub­lished in Form­at Magazine!

有关 Tom Sel­mom 的详细采访请见 Form­at Magazine!

Pho­to­grapher Tom Sel­mon explains his fas­cin­a­tion with China’s drag and queer cul­ture.

摄影师 Tom Sel­mon 用他的镜头诠释着中国变装文化的独特魅力。

Sexu­al­ity and gender fluid­ity in China are very much “alive” con­cepts set with­in the country’s rap­idly chan­ging social land­scape. Brit­ish Beijing-based doc­u­ment­ary pho­to­grapher Tom Sel­mon is one artist keep­ing a close eye, lit­er­ally, on China’s evolving rela­tion­ship with non-bin­ary iden­ti­fic­a­tion.

在中国迅速变化的社会潮浪中,性与性别的不确定性成为一个十分 活跃 的概念。居住在北京的英国纪实摄影师 Tom Sel­mon 从艺术的角度出发密切地记录着中国雌雄同体风潮的发展演变。

Sel­mon fol­lows altern­at­ive youth cul­ture and has cre­ated an impress­ive body of work that explores street fash­ion, drag cul­ture and the cul­tur­al con­text of mod­ern-day Beijing.

Sel­mon 跟踪拍摄另类青年文化,从街头时尚、变装文化、到文化背景中的现代北京,他的创作充满了魔性令人着迷。

 Tom Sel­mon spoke to us about his move from Lon­don to Beijing and his fas­cin­a­tion with the “indi­vidu­al beau­ty” of drag queens :

Tom Sel­mon 跟我们讲述了他从伦敦来到北京的经过,以及他所感受到的变装文化的 独特魅力

It may sound silly, but I just thought pho­to­graphy would be some­thing I’d be rather good at. I’ve always wanted to cre­ate things, even when I was young­er, and pho­to­graphy allows you to cre­ate some­thing instantly.

听上去好像有点傻,我觉得摄影是我很擅长的事。我一直很喜欢去创造,即使在我小的时候,而摄影可以让我瞬间就创造出来一些东西。

I was pre­vi­ously based in Lon­don — shoot­ing fash­ion, among oth­er things. Aside from edit­or­i­al under­tak­ings, I was attempt­ing to expand my focus and shoot dif­fer­ent scenes in Lon­don, such as the drag and LGBT. I am gay myself and there­fore the ‘bond’ or affil­i­ation was already there.

我以前在伦敦拍摄时尚。除了编辑工作,我尝试着拓宽我的取材焦点,并在伦敦不同的场景进行拍摄,例如拍一些有关变装和同志的照片。由于我自己是同性恋者,关注这些是很自然的。

One friend of mine, already liv­ing in Beijing, told me about everything going on there, the changes in soci­ety and I thought I’d check it out.

我的一个定居在北京的朋友告诉我有关北京的一切,社会中发生的变化等等,因此我想亲自到那儿去看看。

I dis­covered after arriv­ing in Beijing, that the pho­to­graph­ic pos­sib­il­it­ies were abso­lutely fant­ast­ic. So I stayed. Opposed to tra­di­tion­al Chinese soci­etal norms, the gen­er­a­tion born post-1990 are far more open, and open-minded, about the con­cepts of gender, sex and sexu­al­ity. Which, in turn, is great for me as a pho­to­grapher who aims to doc­u­ment all sorts of people. For me, these Chinese post-90s cer­tainly stand out from the massive Chinese crowds.

到北京之后我发现,北京的摄影题材实在是太吸引人了。于是我就这样住了下来。中国 90 年后出生的一代人,与中国传统社会道德理念相悖,对于性别与性方面的看法很开放。这对于我,一个想拍摄社会中不同人的摄影师来说是再好不过的题材了。我认为中国的 90 后是当之无愧的脱颖而出的一代人。

I am a pho­to­grapher of people. I like to doc­u­ment people from all walks and scenes of life. I do espe­cially adore male beau­ty, the defin­i­tions of the male. That’s prob­ably also why I think drag queens often look strik­ing.

我是人像摄影师。我喜欢记录各行各业的人和他们的生活场景。我特别喜欢男性的美以及各种有关男性的定义。这可能是为什么我觉得那些变装女王看上去很惊艳的原因。

 

When makeup touches male bone struc­ture, I think it’s magic­al. I like extreme beau­ty as well as soft, nat­ur­al beau­ty. It’s less of a fas­cin­a­tion with drag, but def­in­itely a real fas­cin­a­tion with men.

我觉得化妆品与男性脸庞的接触是很奇妙的事情,我喜欢极端的美也喜欢柔和的自然美。跟变装比起来我更迷恋男人本身的魅力。

I simply enjoy focus­ing on unique faces and people. Bring­ing out, again, their indi­vidu­al beau­ty.

我只是喜欢聚焦在特别的人和面孔上,也就是说,拍摄他们的独特魅力。

Some type of gender or sexu­al revolu­tion, as I’ve called it before, is tak­ing place across the streets of Beijing. The city and its people have some kind of ‘flow’ going for them. Both gender and sexu­al bor­ders are being crossed and are, in fact, slowly fad­ing.

在北京的街头性别和性的变革正在进行着。城市和居住在这里的人们好像在被一种“潮流”感染着,性别和性的界限正在被跨越,慢慢地变得模糊起来。

They are put­ting them­selves out there. They dare to bare them­selves. Which is exactly that what makes them very so attract­ive to my lens. It’s a kind of innate beau­ty for me. One that also shows in the face.

那些年轻人在那里展现自己,敢于袒露自己。我被他们吸引而跑去拍摄他们。对于我来说,他们展示着一种生俱来的美,这种美也显露在他们的脸上。

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Selmon’s online port­fo­lio

点击此处查看 Tom Sel­mon 的在线作品

Ori­gin­al text and inter­view by Els­beth van Par­idon for Tem­per Magazine.

Edit­ing by Form­at Magazine.

Chinese trans­la­tions by Li Dan of Kitayama Stu­dio.

 

Syn­dic­ated from Tem­per Magazine

More from Elsbeth van Paridon

Jessica Rapp For Jing Daily : China’s KOL Case.

State-run media organization “China Daily” cites the video-streaming ban as "the result...
Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading →" />