Master of Light

We’re away until January 3, but we’re reposting some of our favorite pieces from 2017. Enjoy your holiday!

Roger Deakins, 2004, via Buena Vista.

Sometime in the late nineties, the cinematographer Roger Deakins took a kind of pilgrimage to visit his friend and mentor Conrad “Connie” Hall, who was living in semiretirement on a tiny island off Tahiti. The timing found Deakins visiting the older Hall—a three-time Academy Award winner and sort of tribal elder to directors of photography—as the industry-wide shift toward digital cameras was being met by a renewed nostalgia for film, and Deakins was excited to share how he’d recently remodeled his LA home to include a darkroom. “My expectations were shattered,” Deakins later wrote, “when Conrad pronounced the photochemical process ‘antiquated.’ ” Hall praised the possibilities of digital, telling Deakins he was happy to indulge any “technique that might have helped him develop as a visual storyteller.” That was Hall’s guiding mantra, and one the younger artist soon took up: “Story! Story! Story!”

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