Gregg Toland, Gordon Willis, Kazuo Miyagawa, Chivo Lubezki, Roger Deakins, Robert Yeoman, Reed Morano...
These cinematographers' work is brilliant, powerful, inspiring, and all too often thankless. They, as well as many others, have taken the bare bones of a film and dressed it in dazzling aesthetic energy, have taken light and shaped it in ways never before seen, have taken a lens and captured not only stunning images, but our imaginations as well.
I believe some celebration is in order, don't you?
Buzzfeed, in rare form, has shared a fantastic (albeit limited) collection of 129 iconic stills from some of cinema's finest films that will help you do just that, reminding you of the great beauty and importance of expert cinematography. Here are a few of our favorites from the list:
Like I said, the list is endless; there isn't enough time in the world to gather every single composition that left us all in awe. (Manuel Alberto Claro's work in particular leaves me pretty breathless.) However, this collection reminds us of, yes, how beautiful an image can be, but, more than that, how huge of an impact lighting and composition can have on a film's narrative. Would that iconic deep focus scene from Citizen Kane made as much sense if Gregg Toland decided to narrow his depth of field? Would we still be talking about Rear Window if Robert Burks decided to take a more conventional approach instead of immersing the audience using POV shots?
Make sure to take a look at the rest of the stills on the list. Celebrate them! Study them! Print them out and pin them to a cork board for reference!
Which stills do you think should've been on the list? Which cinematographer's work inspired you to become a cinematographer? Let us know in the comments!