Spiritually and scientifically, light is life. And a movie is often a lifetime of emotions. So before thinking about equipment or logistics, I have to spend time with the director and try to get inside his or her head to understand light from the director’s perspective—to understand her vision and where it is coming from.
I dedicate myself completely to the director and must be an absolute slave to the screenplay—using my poetic sensibilities to translate the written word into a merging of light, shadow, color, shape, and pattern.
I read the script and find something that motivates and inspires me. I read it again and again until I completely understand the conflicts between darkness and light, the fundamental truth, and how it all comes together to make up the story.
This allows me to approach each film as its own universe stemming from the director and what he wants to express. And to represent the characters’ lives through a journey of light reflecting the drama’s unfolding nuances. I want the director to feel like we created something original that belongs to us—the filmmakers. That belongs to the movie and identify’s with the movie as a sort of branding—a completely self-contained work of art.
It’s not mechanical. It’s emotional–you feel it–and it comes from the soul.
After wrapping The Republic of Rick, Director Mario Kyprianou told me this, “I call you the Doctor because it was like watching a surgeon at work, and I was proud to have you on our production. I think you’re what every director would look for in a director of photography. You need to be commended for your work ethic and ability to lead the crew. And also for your steadfast focus on what will be aesthetically best for the film.” – Mario Kyprianou, director of The Republic of Rick.