Movies are one of my passions. I watch them to study the lighting and cinematography of masters. To be inspired and entertained. Movies are a great experience. How many movies have I watched? You really don’t want to know!
For a long time, I’ve tried to find the best way to describe my work. There are so many terms being bantered about and I know it’s confusing to clients. What I strive for in my work, is a sense of cinema. I was having a conversation with a colleague about this very topic. He’s been inspired in much the same sense as I have with the imagery in movies. The way they are lit, the way they are framed—you can take a still from a movie and there is something about it that still screams movie.
For portraits and engagement sessions, I love using my telephoto lens. I tell people it’s my cinematic lens. A long lens will compress elements in the background, giving a surreal sense of place to an image. I can control my depth of field; how much is in focus and how much is selectively out of focus. Large, out of focus blobs of light are indicative of a long lens and very movie-esque.
Another aspect of movies that I enjoy is that no matter how horrible a movie is, there always seems to be at least one line of dialogue that’s worth repeating. Something that causes you to pause and reflect. Quotable quotes or cinematic wisdom. My friends know this about me and inevitably, as we sit together and watch a movie, there comes a moment when we all agree…”that was the quote”. I wish I could remember them all, I really should write them down. Here are a couple from movies I’ve seen this past week.
From one of the Star Wars trilogy comes this piece of advice from Yoda. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed that is. Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
From the movie Undiscovered. My wife made me watch this one and while the plot is a bit thin, the music is great…if you like Ashlee Simpson. There came a quote towards the end of the movie. It came at a crucial time when the main character was struggling with fame and just wanting to follow his passion of music. It was attributed to Hemingway. I spent a few hours on the net trying to find this quote and never found a reference to Hemingway. Perhaps it was artistic license, the advice is good nonetheless. “Fame is a bitch goddess, fame is froth, it’s nothing. Fame will break your heart. But creativity is passion and it’s endless. You look for fame, you lose your soul. You look for creation, you find it”
And the last quote of the week… from Grey’s Anatomy. A guilty pleasure, Sunday night television drama. The whole show was about lying. At the end of the show, the narrator asks, “Why do people lie? Because the truth is so painful.”
So next time you watch a movie, no matter how awful it is, listen for that one line of wisdom and insight. Appreciate the craft of the artisans and escape, if only for a couple of hours.