Why should we be learning from directors of photography or the work of cinematographers from the film industry? Simple: because they are in charge of all the camera crews behind film and television productions.
Like photography, this industry has evolved to deliver very high-quality products to its huge audience. They are the people responsible for making all the artistic and technical decisions in relation to the film image itself.
They are also in charge of selecting the cameras, the film, the lenses, and the filters too, so they have a great amount of creative responsibility on their shoulders. The film industry is very structured when it comes to hierarchy, and the director of photography has a very high rank when it comes to doing the job.
1. Emmanuel Lubezki (1964–present)
This guy is a genius, no doubt about it. He has won three Academy Awards in a row. The first was for “Gravity” (he almost shot the thing without gravity), the second was for “Birdman” (which has a beautiful non-stop scene that truly makes the viewer part of the movie, like watching a theatrical performance).
And last but not least, for “The Revenant” (he shot the movie only with natural available light). The style of “El Chivo” is great. He loves to shoot with wide angle lenses and has a thing for shooting in motion. You can see this reel, which shows the cinematographic style of Lubezki. There are a lot of things many photographers, especially photojournalists, can learn from his close to the subject wide angle vision.
Lubezki was in charge of the cinematography for “Children of Men”, and for me, it is the greatest example of that photojournalistic feeling many social documentary photojournalists can learn from.
The movie has very long one-shot scenes, with a point of view that locates the viewer in the center of the action. His talent for locating the viewer in the middle of the action is something we all should honor and humbly learn from.