Being a unit stills photographer on set is one of the most exciting aspects of my work. I love the process of film making and how so many people with just extraordinarily varied talents work together cohesively as a team to create movie magic. Watching a film being created is an aspect few people can experience. I consider myself very fortunate.
As each scene is crafted in a single day it always amazes me how an cast can mentally switch from their normal persona into somebody quite often with a totally different personality and bring (in many cases) a fictional character to life in such a convincing way. Consider that invariably a film is always shot out of sequence. The denouement may take place on Day One of the shoot. How does the cast member switch emotions to match the scene. Ahh, the art of acting.
Whenever I work on a film I always study as much as I can about the film, the cast, the crew and the director before I step foot on set. My work is complimentary to the director and the cinematographer and should always work within their guidelines and styles. Sometimes, after a day of shooting I will create a style I believe that works for the still images, but this is always discussed with the team before being finalised.
A unit stills photographer has to be a ninja in many ways. Not seen nor heard. Never being in an eye-line. Never disrupting the multitude of work that is happening around. Being respectful to the needs of everybody on set, but also capturing that special moment. Gaining trust not only with the cast but all the crew.
I love it!
In 2015 I spent twelve weeks in Norway working on Birkebeinerne (The Last King). The experience will live with me for a lifetime. For more information about this film, visit IMDB here. You can see more of my images from the film here.