Cinematography is the art of lighting and photographing a film. The cinematographer or director of photography works with the director to ensure that all the visual aspects of a film contribute to and enhance its overall meaning and purpose.
It is the process of taking ideas, actions, emotional subtext, tone and all other forms of non-verbal communication and rendering them in visual terms.
Blain Brown, 2002
The rules and conventions that underpin the practice of cinematography have developed with the feature film industry and have become naturalised as a form of language shared between filmmakers and their audiences. The cinematographer uses this complex visual language to create effects, express ideas and provoke emotional, intellectual and aesthetic responses.
When Christopher Doyle works with director Wong Kar Wai, he is asked to engage emotionally with the film’s ideas rather than responding to specific details about a look or a setting.
In his role as cinematographer, Christopher Doyle takes pleasure in sharing the experience of making the film and working collectively.
Christopher Doyle says that art uses the ‘rhetoric of music’ in terms of structure, repetition and movement.
For Christopher Doyle, mistakes, life experience and learning through trial and error are all key parts of what makes someone an artist.
The cinematographer Christopher Doyle points to Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant, 2008) to highlight the role of the camera in communicating emotion.