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Is style a conscious decision? (2 replies and 3 comments)

maxboon23
4 days ago
maxboon23 4 days ago

Hi Roger,

I'm currently writing my dissertation at Bournemouth Film School on cinematography style.

Do you feel as though style is a conscious decision made by a cinematographer, or more a subconscious decision that is apparent to the spectator upon analysis of the film?

Many thanks in advance,

Max 

Roger Deakins
4 days ago
Roger Deakins 4 days ago

It depends what you mean about style. Do you mean the 'look' of one particular film or something embodied in all the work of an individual cinematographer. If the latter, I would suggest that kind of style is only apparent to the viewer on analysis of the body of work.

maxboon23
4 days ago

Thank you Roger, that's very helpful!

dmullenasc
4 days ago
dmullenasc 4 days ago

That's a very important point that Roger makes if you are writing a dissertation -- you have to break things down into the look or style consciously chosen for a particular project versus general stylistic tendencies (partially unconscious) that follow a cinematographer throughout a body of work as they apply their taste and craft in solving problems and telling stories with images.  I mean, you can't believe that the strong visual style of Fincher's "Seven" was due to a bunch of unconscious choices made by Fincher and Khondji... and yet it also contains elements of style that follows through in their other works.

You might want to take a look at this analysis book on classic Hollywood cinematography:
https://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Lighting-Silent-Film-Culture/dp/0231149034/ref=asc_df_0231149034/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312111884081&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=14494357671554971379&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9030985&hvtargid=pla-474082145469&psc=1»

Keating talks about how some cinematographers of the period were more self-consciously stylistic (Toland, Shamroy, etc.) while others tended to be more stylistically invisible with more variety in the looks of their movies (William Daniels).

maxboon23
4 days ago

Thank you David. I'm looking into stylistic tendencies more than a particular project style. I'll look into that book, thank you!

socearrullain
2 days ago

Toland, what an inspiration...

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