[Under]exposed, A Brief Look | Cinematography

A love of underexposed photography has me underexposing almost every angle of everything. My love of exposures came from a love of cinematography. The seven minute film Lemon (1969), by Hollis Frampton [below] shows the power of light alone, against the simple home staple, a lemon. Frampton is one of the pioneers of digital and in his career made a numerous amount of notable films, which, to this day, are used in a variety of film studies, including those I have taken.

In recent years, I have experimented with under and over exposing photography from travels; those to Switzerland and New York specifically. Small parts of my own film-work, has played with various exposures and some of my witter-critical film work, has explored the uses of exposure and lighting in film from the late black and whites, to early technicolour and beyond.

I am love (2009- Cinematography: Yorick Le Saux) and Her (2013, Cinematography: Hoyte van Hoytema), are but two of my favourite examples of recent cinematography. What is most striking about this dystopian future presented in Her, is the colour and clarity in which it is shot in. Storytelling aside, which proves to be a strong screenplay from Spike Jonze, visually, is one of the most compelling movies I have been able to sit and watch time and time again, and I re-watch a lot of films. Lenses, glass and a cinematographer adept to all things digital, have come together to produce a film whereby the lighting is just as important as Spike Jone’s screenplay.

” mostly used small LEDs, like the shot near the end where he’s standing in front of the windows — I hung an LED light box for an overall ambience, that we could also color exactly as the city appears outside. The [light] registers we worked at were so incredibly low and subtle, which were enabled by the camera and high-speed lenses.” – Hoyte van Hoytema

Understanding the role that light plays in any sort of photography is more than a bonus. The texture one can create, depth of field and the overall look of an image, whether as a single frame or as a continuous flow of moment and sound, is something which often becomes a captivating combination of skill and personal taste. Having taken classes by Marshall Rimmer (filmmaker).

The rules of cinema (American), state that the structure of cinema, begun its development since the early texts of Aristotle and Plato whom began to explore the technicalities of how we tell stories. However, in this age of film, of internet-streaming and the most expansive ways to make, watch and engage with films, many have fallen into the pits of art over sorry. This has created the argument of what now can be deemed a film for the sake of film, or whether these films fall only in the category of art. Now, more than ever, the industry is expanding and is possibly more complex than ever. When it comes to the art of cinematography, which is considered an art form in itself, it appears to be a subject which often needs to be isolated from the film, even only if in part or for a second; it deserves to be explored, but not over-analysed, and it is something in which should be respected, appreciated and also enjoyed for the visual experience it provides the viewer.

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