A police raid on a criminal hideout…and yet another exercise in simplicity.

I go on about that topic often enough in this blog, but it really does represent the cornerstone of my thinking about cinematography.

Gordon Willis, ASC used to say that it took him thirty years to learn to be simple in his approach.  When I first heard that as a young assistant cameraman, it didn’t make much sense.  But as I started to shoot, the concept quickly clarified itself.  Since then I’ve been committed to seeing things as they are, even if that means using extravagant measures to present something onscreen in its most elementary form.  Students and cinematographers who are early in their careers often ask me about ways to improve their work.  I invariably tell them that when they think they’ve finished lighting a scene, take something away.  It may not always be the answer they want to hear, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Once again, note the simplicity of the lighting arrangement.


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