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Friday, July 10, 2020


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Philip Cowan

Philip Cowan
Persistence of Vision: Authorship and Visual Style in the Work and Cinematographer

Authorship in film is often difficult to attribute due to the complex nature of the collaborative processes involved. Since its inception the auteur theory has provided a convenient, although simplistic, view of authorship, which credits the director of a film with sole authorship. The creative contribution of the Director of Photography (DoP) to narrative-based cinema, has long been neglected by film theorists and academics, in favour of the auteur theory. By studying the specific contribution of the DoP it is my intention to assess their authorial influence. There are two methodologies employed in approaching this issue. Firstly there are the case studies, detailed analysis of the work of individual cinematographers. The second approach is to provide a methodology for analysing the contribution of the DoP to the films that they shoot. This study constitutes a significant shift from the prevailing view that cinematographers are purely technicians, charged with the mechanical function of realising a director’s vision. This study critically reflects on the creative role, and function, of the cinematographer, in a comprehensive and coherent way that is almost unique in the field of film studies.


Conferred 2015