Words of wisdom from Roger Deakins, one of my favorite cinematographers:
Things usually work out better than you plan. When you’re shooting a film you’re so close to it, it rarely lives up to your expectations while you’re there. You always want it to be better, more perfect. When you see a cut, maybe two or three months later, you come to it fresh. It’s generally much better than you thought it would be.
Someone said to me, early on in film school… if you can photograph the human face you can photograph anything, because that is the most difficult and most interesting thing to photograph. If you can light and photograph the human face to bring out what’s within that human face you can do anything.
All I’ve ever wanted to do is take stills of people, or take documentaries about people, and try to express to an audience how somebody lives next door. You know what I mean? Just how similar we all are as individuals.
On a film like ‘Serious Man,’ without a huge budget, you’re on a tight schedule and shoot when you have to, even if the light isn’t exactly what you want. If you do a digital intermediate (DI) you can change the lighting, the saturation and the contrast. You can do a lot without spending the money to go to an effects house. — on preferring to do post-production on a film electronically
The prep period is especially important. Joel and Ethan Coen and I really enjoy it. By the time we’re on the set, we’re discussing not what we’re doing that day but rather something we’re doing later that may be a problem.
The photographs above are taken from his 1972 Beaford, N Devon series.