09 dezembro, 2007


A newly arrived immigrant, Nova Iorque, 1998
(© Chien-Chi Chang/Magnum Photos)

A Magnum está a comemorar o seu 60º aniversário. Uma das iniciativas que marca a efeméride da maior agência de fotojornalismo do mundo passa pela publicação do livro Magnum, Magnum, onde estão representados 69 fotógrafos da cooperativa. As 6 imagens de cada um foram seleccionadas e comentadas por outro membro da agência.

Bruce Davidson escreveu sobre Chien-Chi Chang. O texto é este:

I got to know Chien-Chi Chang at a small dinner party given in his honour by a New York Times photographer. He stood there quiet, self-composed and observant, like a photo-Buddha, but not with a protruding belly. The gathering was held in a walk-up apartment in what is called 'Chinatown'. I never felt comfortable with its designation because it denotes the 'Other'. Chinatown is thought of as a place of secrets, suspicion and strangeness. Actually, it is all of the above, but it is also a place where Chinese medical doctors practice, of store front shops with goods from Asia, neighbourhood schools, and families surviving and thriving in a New York City community that is vibrant and visually interesting.
It is where Chien-Chi Chang explores aspect of the culture and the people living there. He uncovers the idea of 'Chinatown' in a way that is both lyrical and poetic. This is not an easy thing to do when people may be illegal immigrants, suspicious of outsiders, or where taking an image may be frowned upon for spiritual reasons. I think of his image of a man sitting on a 'flop house' fire escape in the dog days of summer. He is in what appear to be his underpants. He is taking in some fresh air and a sense of his own freedom high above the teeming streets. It would be interesting to know how Chien-Chi found his way into this tenement and gained the trust of its inhabitants.
Chien-Chi seems to connect to alienation. In his portrayal of patients in a Taiwanese mental institution, he chooses to photograph a group strung together with a chain. Here he chooses a formal straight-on view. At the Venice Biennale and other exhibitions, he chose to make these images life-size. Chien-Chi comes to grips with the concept of isolation. These photographs put the viewer into a powerful confrontation with the subject that is visually innovative.
Chien-Chi takes a close-up look at the abuse and banality of arranged marital unions. These marriages between naïve Vietnamese country girls and much older Taiwanese men show the incongruity and despair that is brought to the surface in Chien-Chi's exploration.
Chien-Chi Chang's inner eye goes beyond today's edicts of the media. One will not see sound-bite, fast-food photography in his work. He takes on subtle and difficult subjects that often go unnoticed and brings to light a vision that is passionate, penetrating and profound. Certainly, we can all learn from him.

Bruce Davidson

Para ver um slideshow sobre o novo livro da Magnum carregue aqui.

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