May 6, 2022

BC110 President's Perspective



/pəˈspɛktɪv/ Noun

President’s Perspective

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  1. the art of representing three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other.

  2. a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.

    Similar: outlook , view, standpoint, stance, position, attitude, approach, interpretation

It is mid-February as I sit down to write, the first deadline for my first article looming, and I cast my mind backwards. To all the previous President’s Perspectives in over 100 magazines. To the writers of those Mike, Barry, John, Sue, Gavin, Phil... and back further still, through 32 Past Presidents...all the way to Freddie Young OBE BSC. A legacy of great cinematography, a legacy of different perspectives. But united in the pursuit of simple goals; to represent and shine a light on cinematographers and the great work that they do. Daunted much?

Thankfully, then came distractions; wonderfully timed and entirely welcomed distractions. Plans had to be made. For the BSC Expo and for the 4th BSC Awards night. Back as live events. Real Life, in-person celebrations of cinematography- in a room surrounded by fellow very 2019.

And it is just that, which both these events have become synonymous...celebration. Of craft and technology, of artistry and community. Look out at the Expo for the latest of technologies from our exhibitors, catch up with the oldest of friends over coffee and meet the freshest of faces at the Talent Bar. After a delay of over 2 years, many (sanitised) hands will be shaken and the conversations will flow, here’s to seeing you all there.

However, coming in thicker and faster than the Expo is the 2022 Awards Night, a distant memory as you read this in March, but for now sitting just on my horizon. Over the last weeks it has been a great pleasure to co-host, alongside Laurie Rose BSC, Round Table discussions between the year’s Best Cinematography nominees. Ten incredibly talented Cinematographers whose work has been selected as some of the finest examples of our craft in the past year. Colour/B+W, Anamorphic/Spherical, Film/Digital...the usual divisive choices were immediately apparent, but what was revealed during the ensuing discussions proved to be the vital nuance. The references, the study, the time spent at locations watching and waiting...something that we all do in the prep of any project. So similar and yet so different. But then the unique elements; the relationships, the inter-dependence, with Directors and with vital crew members. Once again, the community of film gained credit and the co-dependence of each team member illustrated. It was these human connections that proved the greatest source of conversation. The differences between technologies were small and easily overcome with planning and industry. But the human connection was the well spring of creativity. Why do we choose a project? Why does it choose us? And once you have embarked on the adventure...who do you take along on the journey?

Ari Wegner ACS and Grieg Fraser ACS ASC both talked at length of the “casting” process of hiring for a project. How important it is to form a team that will deliver on both a technical and pastoral level. Each production has a unique energy, each director is channelling that into performance and vision and our role as filmmakers is to find a way to assist this process and find harmony and cohesion. A humbling conversation with two exceptional group of humans...catch up on the BSC Youtube Channel.

Back once again to the deadline, looming closer still. But Cinematographers are used to deadlines...we thrive on the pressure, or do we? The global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns caused all of us to pause, some briefly, others longer. This pause for health, to ensure the safety of many generations, was also a pause for a collective breath. No longer racing through life, from project to project, we had, for once, the opportunity for reflection. Long dormant issues of diversity and inclusivity, bullying and harassment, and health, safety and well- being on set have been wrestled from their slumber and acted upon. The community of filmmakers is growing stronger and more united in our responsibility for each other, in the seemingly simple request for a respectful workplace and in the requirement for provisions to ensure these things. With this in mind, I urge you all to sign up to the Mark Milsome Foundation’s “Film and TV Online Safety Passport”. A ninety-minute course that will open your mind to on- set responsibilities and inspire you to be a force for positive change in the way that individual health and well-being are respected.

So, the deadline elapses...and the subsequent extension. But here I am thinking about the future and reflecting on the past. Perhaps that should be our perspective for the time being. By standing on the shoulders of the giants that came before...they help us to look for new horizons.

Let me finish by signing off in the style of my eloquent predecessor, Mike Eley BSC, who’s energy and enthusiasm for cinematography is always refreshingly infectious and inspiring.


Christopher Ross BSC