Cameraperson (2016)

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Cameraperson is an interesting memoir, the likes of which I’ve never seen. Documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson has shot for tons of high profile documentaries over the span of her 25 year career as a camera person. As I was watching this film, I realized I had seen much of her work before without realizing it. A testament to the sometimes invisible men and yes, women, behind the camera.

Johnson presents footage from a collection she has amassed of her work from around the world. The work is without a doubt beautiful and intriguing, but perhaps the most fascinating elements are the parallels that can be drawn and the similarities that exist between people regardless of time, borders or ideology. A lot of footage that was most likely left out of the films they were actually shot for are compiled in this documentary, and the snippets of Johnson’s voice behind the camera as she composes her shots allows a different sort of perspective and allows the piece as a whole to act as a memoir, travelogue, life document hybrid. Not just a document of the people who appear on screen, but a document of the filmmaker as well as we hear her interacting with these people, crying when they cry, and laughing when they laugh. If you’re looking for something different, give this a try. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it is beautiful and intriguing. A wonderful tribute to an impressive career woven together with both personal and professional pieces to create a whole that feels like a wonderfully curated video diary style collage. 

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