Stories through images have always been a part of my life. My father was a photographer for the local newspaper, The Wichita Eagle. That’s where I got my fascination for cameras and where I found both the super 8mm and the video camera. I was in love. Soon after I began to film my sister’s basketball games and made my own version of a sportscast with full-on narration, play-by-play, audience cheers, and whatever else came into my 8 year old head.
About the same time I started making movies with my friends, learning various in-camera tricks and creating special effects from whatever we could get our hands on. Regardless of what it was we were doing I always found myself behind the camera. I was drawn to it, enthralled by the images we could get and the way we could tell our stories; often experimenting and finding the limits of the camera just to push it as far as I could. It was the first glimpse into a life-long romance that helped determine my career path.
Along my journey I discovered the Steadicam, and another romance blossomed, propelling me into a new level of my career. I was fascinated with the device and the possibilities it opened up for shot design. This eventually led to one question, “why move the camera?” For the first time I took what had been a subconscious emotional response to the moving image and started to try to understand it and figure out why it worked, why even breathing the camera in closer during a performance could improve the effectiveness of the shot. I have since challenged myself to study and understand the psychology of the moving camera and its impact on the aesthetics of cinema.
This led to the discovery of a quote by cinematographer Christopher Doyle,
“What happens with camera movement is what I call ‘the dance’ between the actors and the camera. And I think that the dance is what really engages people. And how well we dance is really what camera movement is about. I always felt that the camera is in a very intimate relationship with the actors. They take me somewhere, and I go with them. And that’s what gives the actors their flexibility.”
This intimate relationship propels us into the space and time of a story. It engages us and allows us to connect, feel, experience, and perhaps discover new insights of the world and life within it. I get inspired by this every time I put on the rig.