Friday, January 6, 2012

Cinematographers Talk About Creativity and the Importance of Light

Light is the theme that connects these interviews. Light sets the mood, enhances emotion, defines character, and tells the story. Almost without exception the cinematographers talked about images, how to tell the story, and how to help the actors give their best performance. When they discussed cameras, lenses, light meters and other tools of their craft, they did it in the contest of creating an effect. But most of them said the use of the tools should be second nature so that the cinematographer can rely on his eye and intuition.

I loved this book. I'm not a film buff, but I am highly interested in creativity. This book gave me an intensive look at cinematographers, and how they use the tools of their craft to bring original work to the screen. I was particularly fascinated by the almost reverent way they talk about light. Several of them discussed lighting, where you place the lights to get a particular effect. Others discussed light in a more abstract way, how you use the textures of light and color to create effects that tell the story.

I highly recommend this book not only for students of cinematography, but for anyone interested in the creative process. The great cinematographers, almost without exception, talked about studying painting, literature, and sculpture to enhance their understanding of the visual image and story. People in any of these disciplines should listen to the cinematographers. The feedback from the art of film can enhance the understanding of other art forms.

My one reservation about the book is that the size makes it difficult to hold and read. It's a marvelous format for the pictures, but clumsy to hold. It's not just a picture book. The text is fascinating and should be read. It's worth the extra effort. 

I reviewed this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program.