Film can be examined on a multitude of levels, from the content to the technical application, but with all the components of film form and structure, let’s talk about what we see right in front of us -- the cinematography. Whether it’s Benoît Debie’s bold and bright aesthetic in the 2013 film Spring Breakers, or the late Gordon Willis’s dark and dramatic take on The Godfather trilogy, cinematography is the key element that can breathe life into a film or turn it into a snoozer. With an emphasis on cinematographers who explore drastic colors and new uses of light, one will be able to distinguish a stale approach from originality and inventiveness.
Gordon Willis wasn’t afraid of the dark, and he was especially brave when it came to using the element of darkness and in his films. Affectionately referred to as the Prince of Darkness, he broke down barriers in norms of film lighting and style, opening up a whole new era in the world of cinematography. To view photos of cinematographer Gordon Willis’s brilliant techniques in The Godfather and an analysis of how he changed modern cinematography forever, visit the link here.
Benoît Debie’s powerful style and efforts have reconstructed a new and modern approach to lighting and have made him one of the most sought after Directors of Photography in the business. His works have been featured in endless commercials, photos, and films. To see beautiful examples of Benoît Debie’s compelling cinematography and work as Director of Photography, visit his website here.
In honor of Oscar season earlier this year, it is necessary to mention Emmanuel Lubezki, who just won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for the second time in a row, an achievement that hasn’t been accomplished in nearly 20 years. Here is a link to a brief video reel from Lubezki’s work on this year’s winner Birdman, followed by an article about cinematography winners in the Oscar world.
Documentaries are often left out of the equation in the discussion of beautiful imagery and cinematography. With all the elements that one can’t control in documentary filmmaking, it’s especially impressive to pull off a particularly effective look and style. If you want to check out current and notable cinematography in documentary films from the past year, click here.
Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more thoughts and interesting articles.