Dream plan? I don’t know! I don’t really make a lot of plans.– Scott Cudmore
I met Scott Cudmore about 10 years ago when he shot a short documentary on me surrounding a record I released (I am also a musician).
I was struck then by his flexible and warm demeanor which was the kind of energy that puts actors, musicians (and people) at ease. An essential quality for directors, some might argue.
Because Scott has shot music videos for everyone from Spoon to Rihanna, and commercials for the NBA, I wanted to share some of the images he has captured with The Luminous Landscape community.
Film obviously differs in vast and complex ways from still(s) photography, but on some essential level the captured and moving image remain, whether as part of many frames or just one, the same.
Whether we are a still image photographer or a director of photography, we are managing similar sets of challenges and inspirations. For the DOP, blocking a shot (the set up of angles with continuity in mind) and the idea of a central focus is paramount. For a particular strand of still photography, this is very similar. The pre-designed outcome tethers these approaches. The still image and the moving image can and do take inspiration from one another, more and more in this mediated age.
Both DOP’s and photographers share another similarity, which is the stumbled upon moment and image. I am continually shocked to learn how often images and even scenes in films are the confluence of chance and circumstance. The accident is still a happy and essential part of art, no matter the scale of set up or medium, that’s the real magic !
Scott worked for many years with my own film partner, who I profiled here, Michael Leblanc. Leblanc shot many of my own music videos (R rated beware) and my feature film, which premiers next year. Scott and Mike made many music videos together for artists in Canada, The US, and the UK before pursuing separate paths as directors.
And so while Scott is a director and not a DOP, the director’s roll is an axiomatically, deeply complimentary and essential one for a DOP. It is an interesting relationship, when we consider image making and who really makes or takes it after all.
So, where exactly does the art of directing fall into this mix, and what does it have to do with photography? For a director, the narrative and the atmosphere are pre-exsisting elements that come before the shoot.
A director discovers her or his film, I would contend, only once it is being shot, or in the edit. Similarly, the photographer only truly finds their shot once they have uploaded and begun processing the image where a new story comes to life.
And so, in a sense, we are all directors. We often conjure the characters and atmospheres which will populate our images moving or still, and we then find “the meaning” for these only once the images are captured. Much of the art remains subject to chance, whether we are moving people and objects around and having them interact, or we are simply a fly on the wall waiting for a shooting star.
I asked Scott to send me a selection of images he loved and felt represented some of his favorite work from the last 10 years. I am letting Scott’s images do the talking for themselves here.
I hope you find inspiration and mystery in the stills, which are, in essence, a reference to stories that live for each viewer whether attached to a product, a band, a narrative, or simply as ephemeral activity to stimulate our own aesthetic and philosophical approach.
Many thanks to Scott.
See the images move! http://www.scottcudmorefilm.com/