In Vertov’s “We: Variant of a Manifesto”, the author examines the role of cinematography in a piece’s success and effectiveness. In the article, Vertov notes, “Cinema is, as well, the art of inventing movements of things in space in response to the demands of science; it embodies the inventor’s dream – be he scholar, artist, engineer, or carpenter; it is the realization by kinochestvo of that which cannot be realized in life,” (Vertov, 9). There is this romantic conception in cinema that allows the cinematographer to further shape how he or she wants the piece to be viewed. Vertov wants the reader to note how the cinematographer, in essence, is an artist. They are creating something from scratch and using this piece of art to empower somebody and influence the masses. They hold more power in their hands than many realize. You know that a cinematographer is successful in their job when they are able to fully capture a moment in an artistic manner.
Last semester, I took an Introduction to Video course with Scripps professor Elana Mann. Our first assignment was to create a production in which we examine the world using the camera as the “mechanical eye”. In the prompt for the assignment, she used a quote by Vertov, “I’m an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it. I free myself for today and forever from human immobility. I’m in constant movement. I approach and pull away from objects. I creep under them. I move alongside a running horse’s mouth. I fall and rise with the falling and rising bodies”. After brainstorming for quite sometime, I chose to create a film in which I had one of my friends, who was really stressed with homework, go on an adventure to the mountains and to Los Angeles. The getaway was shot in POV while the stressed shots were shot in third person. I think it was important, as the cinematographer, to adequately capture how the camera could work as a “mechanical eye”.
Questions: Does the cinematographer have more a role, overall, than the director? What do you think?
My mini-film is attached. Check it out!