在他们中间，阿尔弗雷德·斯蒂格里茨(Alfred Stieglitz)用8x10相机写实般地记录下女画家奥吉夫的身体，力图解析女性的灵魂与肉体绽放的秘密；爱德华·韦司顿(Edward Weston)手中的相机是一支非凡的画笔，每按下一次快门都成了绝顶的风情画；曼·雷（Man Ray）以女性身体为题材的摄影赋予了他“达达主义”奠基人的地位，而“物影成像”和“反转显影”则帮助他到达超现实主义的彼岸；哈里·卡拉汗(Harry Callahan)一生专注于描绘妻子爱林娜身体的局部美感，通过紧凑的细节画面以及虚中掩实的手法来寄托情感；罗伯特·梅普索普（Robert Mapplethorpe）以挑战的姿态介入了摄影，摒弃了传统的审美观念，将人体摄影带入了最为前卫的领域，以古典而又现代的影像表达，在美国的当代摄影界竖起一块里程碑；萨莉·曼（Sally Mann）以自己的两个女儿为主要拍摄对象，讲究构图与画面的精美，以视觉的美感撼动性文化中的传统观念，精准地描绘了她们从女孩到女人的演变；理查德·普林斯（Richard Prince）巧用大众关心的花边新闻，从庸俗的流行文化中抽取题材，以挪用主义的特有手法进行画面的拼贴组合，以此来揭示美国大众在性压抑与反抗之中所经历的心理冲突；荒木经惟 （Araki Nobuyoshi）以性爱为题材的作品，几乎渗透进了他创作与生活的所有层面，使他对摄影产生了这样的定义：照片跟女人一样，只有湿了的时候才是最有意思的。
靳宏伟 原上海画报摄影编辑，1989 年自费赴美留学，1992 年获美国马里兰 艺术学院(MICA)摄影硕士学位(MFA)现定居美国 Atlanta。法国 Sipa Press 董事会主席。2006 年开始进行 20 世纪当代摄影大师作品收 藏。10 年共收藏了西方摄影大师作品 1600 多幅，中国当代摄影家作品 400 多幅。2011 年以来，先后在北京 CAFA Museum、中华世纪坛、 中间美术馆、何香凝美术馆、上海摄影中心先后举办了“原作 100”、“从 卡拉汉到杰夫昆斯”、“触摸经典”、“中国当代摄影 150”、“20 世纪世界 摄影大师作品”等8个大型收藏展。作为华人世界最为重要的摄影收藏家， 近年来他还在国际国内的一些重要影展跟摄影节担任评委。
When I am alone and face to face with the work of great masters, an old-fashioned phonograph always pops into my mind. The slow revolution of the vinyl record, like the annual growth rings of trees, the systematic advancement going round and round...For many things in the world, once invented, they start to undergo change. Old records already seem to have entered the museum and become history; but, we need not expend too much attention to discover, no matter how the world changes, some things still carry an eternal power. Since the 20th century, during the intervening hundred years of photographic history, master photographers have been situated at different latitudes and have produced innumerable classic works of widely differing styles. However, the exploration of sex has always emerged as a meaningful motif.
In their midst, Alfred Stieglitz used an 8 x 10 camera to realistically record painter Georgia O'Keefe's body, striving to analyze the secret soul and bodily bloom of the female sex. The camera in Edward Weston's hand became an extraordinary paintbrush, with each click of the shutter resulting in an extremely special and sensual landscape painting. Man Ray's photography with the female form as subject endowed him with the mantle of the founder of “Dadaism”, while his “photograms” and “solarization” works helped usher him to the other side of Surrealism. Harry Callahan's entire life was absorbed by depicting the beauty of various parts of his wife Eleanor's body, using compositions of compact details as well as multiple exposure techniques to imbue emotion. Robert Mapplethorpe's photography involved challenging postures and abandoned traditional aesthetic notions, thus bringing photography of the human form to its most avant-garde realm. His classical yet contemporary photographic expression marks a milestone in the world of American contemporary photography. Sally Mann's two daughters were her main photographic subjects. With precise and exquisite composition, her work uses visual beauty to shake the traditional concepts of sexual culture through accurate depictions of their development from girls to women. Richard Prince cleverly utilized popular sidebar news, extracting subject matter from vulgar pop culture and unique tactics of appropriation to form image collages, thus revealing the sexual inhibitions of the American public and the psychological conflict experienced while attempting to resist it. The theme of Araki Nobuyoshi's photography is sex, which essentially permeates every aspect of his life and work, impelling him to produce the following definition of photography: “photographs are like women, they're most interesting when wet.”
So, there will definitely be those who dispute me on this, but did Cartier-Bresson not photograph nudes, not talk about idea, and in the same way become a great master?
In my humble opinion, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eugene Smith, Josef Koudelka, Sebastião Salgado and numerous others were also equally interested in “sex”, but what's slightly different is that in their photographic narratives they emphasized the “human” aspect. In the lives and careers of these great masters, we're accustomed to seeing “human concern” as “concern for the humanities” but without “sex” in particular, what constitutes this group of “humans”?
In humankind's history of art, that which is able to leave its trace must be unique in its creative concept or truly innovative. The dazzling radiance of the history of photography in the 20th century is precisely what these great masters have left behind for us. They captured humankind's misfortune and suffering, while sharing a common ground of “gratitude, generosity, compassion, benevolence, and hope.” All things in the universe can be traced back to their source, and from what I can see in the art of these great masters is inseparable from this eternal theme of humankind. To see “sex” is to see a great distance, with an understanding of this principle, we're able to go even farther.
Just as Mu Xin says: If one is great, after death you'll glow slowly and continue to shine.
Charles Jin Former photo editor of Shanghai Pictorial. In 1989, he studied abroad in the US at his own expense. In 1992, he earned an MFA in photography from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He now lives in Atlanta. He is the chair of the board of French photo agency Sipa Press. In 2006, he began collecting the work of 20th century contemporary photography masters. In the intervening ten years he has collected more than 1600 works by great western master photographers, and more than 400 works by Chinese contemporary photographers. Since 2011, he has held eight large-scale collection exhibitions including: 100 Original Works, From Callahan to Jeff Koons, Touching the Classics, 150 Works of Chinese Contemporary Photography, and 20th Century World Photography Masters at institutions such as CAFA Museum, China Millennium Monument, Middle Art Museum, Hexiangning Art Museum, and the Shanghai Center of Photography. As the most important photography collector in the Chinese world, in recent years he has served as a judge for some significant photography exhibitions and festivals both domestically and abroad.
辛蒂·雪曼， 8x10 英尺，银盐照片，1977
Cindy Sherman. 1977 8x10inch silver print
哈里·卡拉汉， 670 7x8.英寸，原始照片
Harry Callahan. HC 670 7x8.inch vintage print
Jerry Uelsmann silver print. Untitled. 1998. 11x14 inch
Sally Mann. 1989. 6 of 25. 8x10inch siver print
Sally Mann. 1991. 2of 10. 8x10 inch Cibachrome
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, New York, 1980