Published By: Jayati


Cinema is primarily a visual medium, it is how a set of still images gives an illusion of movement!

The impact of the visuals cannot be denied in the medium and there are several important reasons due to which this statement is true. First and foremost, that cinema in the nascent stages very only consisted of unedited visuals known as actualities and that was the very first attraction of the medium. People were actually horrified by the exact detail in which the medium portrayed reality. And later in the silent era before the introduction of sound in 1927, cinema told stories, complex narratives and even epics only with image, montage and live music. The person who is in charge of the image on a film is known as a cinematographer.

From the inception of cinema there have been many cinematographers who have brought in new and innovative techniques in light, colour and camera movement and transformed what was possible in the cinematic medium. This list consists of iconic image makers from all over the world who have had a very conscious and massive impact on the medium and their work with the shaping of light, moulding of colour becomes the very basis of the image in art for

Sven Nykvist

One of the early masters of light in the medium Sven Nykvist is iconic for his involvement with the film form. His collaboration with fellow Swedish director and one of the absolute greats of cinema, Ingmar Bergman, their work is cemented as sheer works of cinema paintings. Apart from his Swedish counterpart Sven has worked with several other masters including Andrei Tarkovsky and many more his work in terms of bounce lighting and face lighting is extremely important and has been used in a lot of works in the future.

Christopher Doyle

A modern cinematographer, Christopher Doyle is mostly known for his works with Hong Kong Director Wong Kar Wai. Along with Wong, Doyle created imagery that was starkly aesthetic and emotionally evocative of an essence that predominantly focused on camera movement and bold colour pairings and unique patterns on set. Most notably his their work together they derived a method called step printing which has now become synonymous with their idiosyncratic style.

Subrata Mitra

The only Asian cinematographer on this list Mitra is most known for his involvement in the iconic Apu trilogy. His use of natural light in the 16 mm format is lauded to this day, his sense of framing and bold use of contrast and light separation is one of the best ways in which one can express the narrative of that nature. Subrata Mitra is also very revered for his use of bounce lighting  particularly in natural environments.