“As cinematographers, we are creators of visual narratives, sculpting depth within a two-dimensional frame. I use my understanding of fine art and architecture to create intimate spaces where scenes and emotions can play out, where stories can be told and experienced through the unique relationship of the viewer’s gaze into the cinema screen. To me, it’s really about the emotional impact of the image when you look at it. I find that film has an amazing capacity to communicate with a human being. Content interests me more than technique. As an artist you can reach a deeper part of yourself if you’re not preoccupied with the technical aspects. Film has that timeless quality which is appealing, because I want my images to last and to have enduring resonance.”
Jess Hall, BSC studied film at Central Saint Martins College for Arts and Design in London and New York University. His credits include numerous commercials and music videos, as well as the feature films The Spectacular Now, Creation, Hot Fuzz, Brideshead Revisited, Son of Rambo, Stander, and the forthcoming Transcendence.
Masanobu Takayanagi. Photo by D. Kirkland.
“There is a technical aspect to what cinematographers do, and it is important. But the most important thing is capturing the emotional state of the characters from the actors. Risk-taking is also really important. I think it’s a magical thing. If you take a chance, it might turn out even better than you imagined. If you’re getting too comfortable with what you’re doing, you’re probably going to lose a chance to explore. There are many factors in the choice of format. But to me, the primary thing is the gut feeling. So far, for all the movies that I’ve done, I felt that film was the right choice.”
Masanobu Takayanagi took prizes at the Palm Springs International Short Fest and ASC Awards as a student at AFI, and went on to shoot second unit for Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC on Babel and State of Play. His credits as a director of photography include more than a dozen shorts, as well as the features Warrior, The Grey, Silver Linings Playbook, Out of the Furnace, and the forthcoming True Story.
Rachel Morrison. Photo by Douglas Kirkland
"I try to approach shooting not from a purely technical standpoint, but also from an emotional one, letting narrative inform the technique. I’m driven by the desire to capture human emotion in its raw, pure form, to decisively freeze a moment in time that might take on its own life and live forever. Great photographers can distill the human spirit to one moment, the single most poignant moment representing the lifetime of a story. There’s something really special about chance, as opposed to the rigidity of the known and the calculated. Life is random. Film echoes that randomness.”
Rachel Morrison lensed Fruitvale Station, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards at Sundance in 2013. She also photographed Any Day Now, which won the Audience Award at Tribeca and eight other film festivals. She earned an Emmy® nomination for the Showtime documentary Riker’s High. Her other feature credits include Palo Alto, CA; Sound of My Voice; Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie; Some Girl(s) and The Harvest. Women In Film honored Morrison with the 2013 Kodak Vision Award for her outstanding achievements in cinematography.
“I don’t believe in playing it safe. And on Breaking Bad, we were all encouraged to take chances. I was constantly stretching the limits of film with my lighting. The storytelling business is a representational art form, not a reproductive art form. Throughout the history of filmmaking, cinematographers have been there to visually represent the emotional moments of the stories that we’re telling. We’re expected to use poetic license, to create. Nobody’s house is as dark during the day as Walter White’s at the end of Breaking Bad. But that was the right look to support the story at that moment. That’s where the DP’s skills and sensibility come in. The film stocks today are tremendous–the best they’ve ever been–and the transferring technology is incredible. Right now, they’re bumping every frame of Breaking Bad up to 4K. It looks just amazing.”
Michael Slovis, ASC photographed the final five seasons of Breaking Bad, earning three Emmy nominations along the way. His previous credits include CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, for which he won an Emmy, as well as episodes of 30 Rock, Rubicon and Fringe. He also directed four episodes of Breaking Bad, and episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Chicago Fire.
“Love is a source of freedom, which emerges through one’s metaphysical response. It is an invisible force that makes the world around me fascinating. Hence, I continue to explore the hidden mystical beauty through mediums like painting, writing, observing and filmmaking.
“From its inception to today, filmmaking has set its profound identity, and in the process, it is considered to be the best metaphysician – ahead of common sense, philosophy and even the disciplines of physics.