Exposing her role behind the camera, Kirsten Johnson reaches into the vast trove of footage she has shot over decades around the world. What emerges is a visually bold memoir and a revelatory interrogation of the power of the camera.
A boxing match in Brooklyn; life in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina; the daily routine of a Nigerian midwife; an intimate family moment at home: these scenes and others are woven into Cameraperson, a tapestry of footage collected over the twenty-five-year career of documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. Through a series of episodic juxtapositions, Johnson explores the relationships between image makers and their subjects, the tension between the objectivity and intervention of the camera, and the complex interaction of unfiltered reality and crafted narrative. A hybrid work that combines documentary, autobiography, and ethical inquiry, Cameraperson is both a moving glimpse into one filmmaker's personal journey and a thoughtful examination of what it means to train a camera on the world.Written by
Much has been said about this film. It's not your typical documentary on a specific issue or topic. It's also not a completely straight-forward autobiography, but I do think it's some type of autobiography that, while unique, still very much reveals something about the subject. The subject in question here is Kirsten Johnson, and all of the images and footage chosen to be shown to us do tell us something about her. Despite not really talking about her own life or only appearing on camera for a few seconds, the images and her interactions with those around her do give us a glimpse as to who this person is. That is why in that respect it is an autobiography of some sort, the type that shows rather than tells. It's a fascinating picture through and through and highly recommended.
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