Capturing David Fincher's Nightmarish Reality: A Video Tribute to DP Jeff Cronenweth
Meet the man responsible for capturing David Fincher's nightmarish vision.
There is a strange dichotomy at work in the films of David Fincher: a peculiar atmosphere that is both nightmarish and realistic, familiar yet completely foreign. And the one who manages to capture this on film is cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth.
A beautiful video tribute by Josh Maczinski is making its rounds online, revealing his unique cinematic style in Fincher's films, but also explores his haunting work in Hitchcock, Man and Beast, and One Hour Photo. Check it out below:
Cronenweth's frequent collaboration with Fincher began when he worked as a camera operator on Seven. Since then, he has lensed the director's most celebrated films, including Gone Girl, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Fight Club. Their collaborative effort has resulted in films with atmospheres that marry the seedy underbelly of human psychology with the dark, fantastical side of the doldrums of everyday life.
A post by Maaz Kahn of DIY Photography compiles a ton of Cronenweth's insight into how he and Fincher captured the look and feel of these films, noting how he often shoots with wide angle lenses to create a hyper-real look while still lighting scenes in a realistic way. The result is an eerie, unsettling shot.
Cronenweth details his approach to lighting Fight Club:
"Many practical locations are lit by fluorescents in the ceiling, so we purposefully tried to maintain that element of reality. Toplight seemed to help with the prosthetics as well, by showing off the integrity of the wounds without revealing too much.
In all of the ‘normal’ reality situations, the look was supposed to be fairly bland and realistic. For the scenes when he is with Tyler, though, David wanted the look to be more hyper-real in a torn-down, deconstructed sense — a visual metaphor of what he’s heading into."
What's your favorite Cronenweth film? What do you appreciate about his approach to cinematography? Let us know in the comments!