Sat, Feb 18, 2017 - Page 14 News List

Close shave by the Ganges
恆河畔剃頭髮

A young man shaves a child’s head along the River Ganges in India’s Varanasi in this undated photo.
一名年輕人於印度瓦拉納西城的恆河畔幫小孩剃頭髮,拍攝日期不詳。

Photo: Paul Cooper, Taipei Times
照片:台北時報記者古德謙攝

The banks of the River Ganges in India, at the city of Varanasi, is known for the ceremonial bathing many Hindus do there. There are sections along the bank, however, bustling with people engaged in all manner of activities.

This photo shows a young man shaving a child’s head. One woman, presumably the child’s mother, holds him in her lap. Another, older lady, perhaps the child’s grandmother, looks on.

For me, this picture is all about the expressions of the four people in the center of the action and the center of the photo.

First of all, the child. I assume he is not sleeping, although he appears to be very calm, especially given that a complete stranger is shaving his head. The man looks quite relaxed, too: one can imagine he is quite experienced. He is holding the child’s head in a stable grip, fingers evenly splayed, while his right hand works with the razor.

The two women, though, look anything but relaxed. The mother appears the calmer of the two, and yet she is still keeping a close eye on proceedings. The grandmother looks to be quite tense, her eyes squinting slightly, her mouth locked in an apprehensive grimace, as if she can barely look but knows she needs to watch carefully.

And it’s no wonder: however experienced the young man may be, he’s not using a safety razor. That’s a straight razor he’s holding to the infant’s head.

(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)

印度恆河畔的瓦拉納西城以眾多印度教徒進行的沐浴儀式聞名。沿岸有許多地方擠滿了人,從事各式各樣的活動。

這張照片中,一個年輕人正在幫小孩剃頭髮。一位女子,或許是這小孩的母親,把小孩抱在她腿上。另一位像是這孩子的(外)祖母的較年長婦女則在一旁看著。

對我來說,這張照片的重點是畫面中心這四個人在活動進行中的表情與姿態。

我猜這小孩不是睡著的,但是他不哭鬧,乖乖地讓一位陌生人幫他剃頭。這年輕人也顯得一派輕鬆:想必他很有經驗。他穩穩抓著小孩的頭,手指平均張開,右手則拿著剃刀工作著。

然而這兩位婦女看來卻絕非一派輕鬆。小孩的母親看來比較沒那麼擔心,但她還是密切注意著一舉一動。而祖母看起來就很緊張了,她微瞇著眼,她的嘴因擔心而扭曲著,好像她不敢看,但還是得小心注意著。

這也難怪:無論這剃頭的人多麼有經驗,他用的不是安全剃刀。他手上拿著用來刮嬰兒頭部的是一把直剃刀。

(台北時報編譯林俐凱譯)

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