Over the past few years I’ve begun experiencing an exciting shift in how I think about my work. What sparked this evolution was the realization that I view cinematography more as a design challenge than as an entertainment platform. In a very basic way film is no different than all visual design practice, where the objective is to nurture the relationship between form and function to maximize their combined effect. The end goal isn’t to make movies, after all, but to inspire, to connect, and to transform.
I increasingly see myself not as a director of photography in the traditional sense, but as the principal visual designer of the projects I work on, someone who manages diverse creative teams capable of thinking beyond the medium they are most comfortable with. It’s possible that the role I’m describing isn’t that of cinematographer at all, but rather a new hyper-visual breed of producer, well versed in both narrative and visual design, and capable of projecting vision across multiple platforms. Or perhaps this is what the best producers have always been and I’m only now getting to the party. In any event, after ten years of thinking intensively about how cinematography can push the boundaries of the motion picture medium, it’s exciting to be thinking more extensively about how my practice can support new modes of visual design and social innovation outside of traditional filmmaking.
The new Twitter logo announcement is an excellent example of the kind of work I’d like to expand my repertoire to include: a well-developed concept rendered through exceptional visual design that creates a short, condensed, visceral burst of the Twitter experience. I look forward to working on projects where motion picture photography is but one tool at our disposal, along with animation, graphic arts, and interactive design. As cinema, television, and interactive media continue to coalesce in the age of internet, this sort of multifaceted design platform looks more and more like the mainstream future of shortform motion picture production. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
The view from Anchorage Street: low winds, low clouds, blue horizon.