"Popular Cinema" photographer Zhang Suyan——

Use film to freeze the beautiful moments of an era

  Our reporter Li Li

  In the first joint photography exhibition of BRTV "New Vision of Light and Shadow" held recently, several old magazines of "Popular Film" brought the audience's memory back to the 1980s and 1990s.

Many of the star photos on the cover that have amazed an era are from Zhang Suyan.

  How did the star blockbusters of the year come out?

With a little curiosity, the reporter interviewed Zhang Suyan, a 76-year-old old photographer, and listened to her recalling those golden years in the camera.

Homestead becomes a simple photography studio

  Walking into Zhang Suyan's house, there is a full-page photo of her with well-known directors and actors in the large frame hanging on the wall.

Zhang Yimou, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Jiang Wen, Li Xuejian, Ge You, Chen Daoming, Tang Guoqiang, Liu Xiaoqing, Siqin Gaowa, Pan Hong, Jiang Wenli, Xu Fan, Xu Qing, Chen Hong, Fu Biao, Gao Cangjian, Qin Xianglin, Liang Jiahui... These were taken in 1989 Old photos from the 190s document Zhang Suyan's career and also witness the friendships she forged with these filmmakers at work.

  From the resumption of "China Screen" and "Film Pictorial" in the early 1980s, and later transfer to "Popular Film" magazine, until her retirement in 2005, Zhang Suyan worked as a photographer for 25 years.

"At that time, there was no professional studio, and I basically took pictures wherever I went, sometimes at the actors' residences, and sometimes at my house." Zhang Suyan recalled that her dormitory was only over 30 square meters in actual area, but she received many guests. actor.

"Filming at home is basically the use of natural light, and the only small lights were given by the lighting engineer of the crew. Sometimes the background is made of cloth of various colors. When I go on a business trip, I see a good-looking cloth, and I buy it as a background. "Because the room is too small, sometimes Zhang Suyan simply asks the actors to sit on her bed and take pictures, with her own curtains in the background.

"Maybe I'm a female photographer, and actresses are very relaxed in front of me."

  The hotels, dormitories and even rural villages on the outskirts of Beijing where celebrities live were once Zhang Suyan's temporary studios.

"In 1992, I took pictures of Jiang Wenli and Lin Fangbing at my grandma's house in Shunyi. The background was the earthen walls, firewood stacks, and paths in the countryside. Then Jiang Wenli pushed my cousin's bicycle, which was particularly rustic." She remembered , Jiang Wenli also specially asked pure makeup to appear in the photo, and the effect of the shooting was extraordinarily real and natural.

  When I took pictures of actors, most of them did their own makeup and styling, and even borrowed clothes from each other.

"It seems like a shameful thing for celebrities to bump into their shirts now, but at that time there was a beautiful skirt that could shoot several celebrities." Zhang Suyan pulled out the back cover photo of the fifth issue of "Popular Movies" in 1994. In the photo, Ru Ping was wearing it. The floral top is the fabric that Zhang Suyan bought herself, and then asked the costumer of the crew to make it.

No post-editing, and no one deliberately loses weight

  In the 1980s, "Popular Film" once set the world record for the highest sales volume of a film magazine with a single issue of 9.47 million copies, and the cover photo is an important factor in determining sales.

In that era when there was no online platform, the symbol that symbolized the popularity of actors also frequently appeared on the cover of "Popular Film" magazine.

Therefore, the editors pay special attention to the topic selection of the cover photo.

"At that time, we chose who to shoot the cover. First, it depends on the market situation of the film, and second, it depends on the potential of the actors." In addition to the actors who have become famous, sometimes the teachers of the film school will recommend newcomers to Zhang Suyan.

"There are three golden flowers in Class 94 of Nortel's Performance Department, Jiang Qinqin, Chen Shasha, and Jin Qiaoqiao. I photographed them all when they were in school."

  Before many stars were rising, Zhang Suyan's camera was already aimed at them.

In 1991, the movie "I am ugly, but I am gentle" was released.

"After watching the movie, I was very impressed with Ning Jing, and her appearance and temperament are highly recognizable." Taking advantage of the opportunity to go to Shanghai on business, Zhang Suyan took the initiative to ask Ning Jing to take pictures.

Later, with the release of films such as "Sunny Day" and "Red River Valley", Tranquility became an instant hit and won the Hundred Flowers Award for Best Actress.

  The Hundred Flowers Awards for Popular Movies was the most popular, most participatory, and most popular public awards event at that time. At the height of its popularity, millions of people voted.

In order to vote for their favorite movies and actors, many readers waited in front of newspapers and magazines in the early morning.

"At that time, the ballots were all packed in sacks, and the votes had to be counted manually." Zhang Suyan and her colleagues took advantage of the lunch break to participate in the counting of votes, "You can earn a few points by opening 100 envelopes. Money, although the money is not much, but this experience is very fun to think about now.”

  "Popular Film" not only records the glory of the film industry in the 1980s, but also records the simple and simple beauty of that era for us.

"Nowadays, all photos have to be beautified and refined, but at that time we were all taking photos with 'zero post-production', and a maximum of two rolls of film, or 60 shots, were used to shoot a star. Generally, they don't make any special requirements for photographers. They are also chosen by art editors and photographers, and they rarely interfere.”

  Different from the awl faces and high nose bridges of female stars nowadays, very few actors in those days wore heavy makeup, not to mention medical beauty and plastic surgery.

"The aesthetics at that time was to advocate nature, and the actors had their own characteristics. They would not blindly regard thinness as beauty, and no one would deliberately lose weight unless it was for the needs of the role." Zhang Suyan recalled, "At that time, everyone liked it. Actors are all masculine, weighty, and angular, such as Shao Bing, Sun Chun, and You Yong. If someone is a 'butcher', it is a derogatory term. Actors basically don't wear makeup when taking pictures. Just to capture the quality of a man."

She once sat in on Zhang Yimou's class

  In the early 1960s, when Zhang Suyan was in high school, her father worked at the Chinese History Museum.

"At that time, our family lived in the dormitory next to the museum, and as soon as we went out, we were in Tiananmen Square. It happened that our neighbor was a photographer for the National Expo, and he took a lot of photos of me on the square." At that time, she thought that if she could become a photographer in the future, she would All right.

When filling out the application, she applied for the Beijing Film Academy.

"The photography department only passed the first test, but did not pass the second test, and was later admitted to the engineering department."

  When she was assigned work in 1973, Zhang Suyan was assigned to the China Film Distribution and Projection Company to engage in technical work.

"Later, "China Screen" was going to be re-published, and the leader asked me to go back to the film academy for further studies. As a result, I followed the 78th class of the photography department. In this class, Zhang Yimou is the oldest, so his words 'must work hard' are still imprinted. In my mind. He usually doesn't talk much, but he is very diligent." Zhang Suyan also found from the album a black and white photo she took of Zhang Yimou when their class went to Shidu to take pictures. "Now look at it. It's so precious."

  Zhang Suyan bluntly said that she is lucky to be able to engage in photography.

"Because I have no foundation in painting and I am relatively short, it should be said that the conditions are not as good as others." But with her enthusiasm, studious attitude and low-key and straightforward personality, she has been recognized by many directors and actors in her work. And they also became close friends.

"Burning the Old Summer Palace," "Burning the Old Summer Palace," "Dunhuang Nights," and "Burning the Epang Palace" directed by Li Hanxiang all invited me to be a still photographer. He trusts me very much."

  So far, Zhang Suyan especially misses the working atmosphere of that era.

"At that time, the actors were filming in the crew, and no one took assistants. When they finished work, they also helped the staff to collect things together. Everyone was very equal and sincere. At that time, the requirements for actors were also very strict. Because it was the film era, many times No matter how big a star is, they have to do their homework.” In her opinion, in the late 1990s, when actors had brokerage companies, the film and television industry became more and more market-oriented, and all kinds of chaos began to emerge. .

"It is always said that 'personality collapses', but there was no 'personality' back then, only the strict requirements of art workers for themselves."

  Although she has taken so many classic photos, Zhang Suyan has never published a picture album or held a solo exhibition.

A celebrity photographer may seem like a huge halo to others, but to her it's just an ordinary job.

"Now, it's enough to flip through the old magazines that I have left behind and leave a thought for myself." What really makes her feel happy and valuable in this job is that "the beautiful moments of these filmmakers can be translated into Set it down and share it with everyone.”