Watch: A Visual Love Letter to 3-Time Oscar Winner Emmanuel Lubezki

Emmanuel Lubezki, known fondly as 'Chivo,' is one of the greatest living cinematographers. 

Emmanuel Lubezki is a living legend. His work as a cinematographer on GravityBirdman, and The Revenant has earned him an Academy Award for three consecutive years; he was nominated five times before that. In his collaborations with directors such as Terrence Malick, Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mike Nichols, and Joel and Ethan Coen, Lubezski has pushed the boundaries of the camera's eye, taking us to apocalyptic futures, the most remote corners of the uninhabitable wilderness, and the far reaches of outer space.

Though widely known and revered for his realism and natural lighting, Chivo, as Lubezki is affectionately termed, infuses his images with a poetry and majesty rarely witnessed by mortal beings. When he shoots light as it flows through the branches of trees, it's as if he's summoning the power of the earth in his frame.

A beautiful new video essay from James Hayes explores Chivo's aesthetic, which consists largely of low angles shot with 35mm lenses on cameras that capture high dynamic ranges. (He is most fond of the ARRI Alexa M.) 

As Hayes notes, Chivo frequently changes perspective in the same shot. Where other cinematographers and directors would opt to cut to a different shot and change the focal length of the camera, Chivo transitions from objective to subjective in one shot, putting us in the characters' shoes and then returning us to the omniscient narrative.     

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Your Comment


The greatest cinematographer alive and one of the greatest, alive or dead. He's the true heir to Sven Nykvist.

May 5, 2017 at 6:35PM, Edited May 5, 6:36PM

Henry Barnill
Director of Photography

Just so you know or note it for next time: It's Lubezki just with zeta, not "Lubezski". Not being a bitter smart-ass, just pointing a small detail out (: I really appreciate and enjoy most of your articles or pieces of information that you guys share. Cheers!

September 27, 2017 at 9:27PM, Edited September 27, 9:27PM

Vic Barrett
Screenwriter l Unit Stills Photographer l Beginner Filmmaker