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
Kirsten Johnson, an American cinematographer, directs this documentary using footage she has collected during the past thirty years.
This film's most praiseworthy attribute is its uniqueness. In snippets that last only a few minutes, each little story (over twenty of them, many of them revisited during the film) say so much in such a short amount of time.
The subjects vary as well: the effects of ethnic cleansing and gang rapes in Bosnia, the troubles relating to Al-Qaeda, a heinous crime in small-town, Texas. Johnson also focuses on troublesome domestic situations in her home country including her mother's fading health and mind.
While there seem to be many stories, they all seem to relate to a common theme of tragedy whether it be at the worldly or the personal level. Johnson has the great skill of giving the viewer just enough information to feel empathy but without being overwhelmed and numbed. In other words, she brings the viewer to her own deep level of humanity.
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