When I was 11, I decided I wanted to make movies. At 15 I knew I wanted to become a cinematographer. That was the first important choice of my life, and with determination, I made that dream come true. With that same determination, I try to accomplish all the projects I work on. Making choices is an important part of the cinematographer’s job: every movie, every sequence, every shot, every light, every camera position needs to come from a strong intention, in accordance to the vision of the director.
I adore my job. It can be hard, difficult, intense… but I keep considering it as a vocation. We spend a third of our lifetime in our working place, so I believe that it is important to love the work you do, that it must never be a constraint, but a real pleasure. And it is with that enthusiasm that I try to bring ideas and propositions to projects I work on, and to always give my best. Ideally, I love to work with a smile on my face.
At your service
In my work, I love being at the service of a director and his/her vision, of a production, of a project. I don’t make propositions in order to create shots to put in my demoreel: I make propositions if I consider that it serves the project, and the director’s vision. I consider that my work starts early in the production of a project, and ends only once the movie is screened: I try to be as involved as possible, because my expertise is necessary at every step of a project. Besides, I believe that most of the work is and has to be done in the preparation time: you can improvise on the set only if you prepared every detail of your project.
Concerning the post-production, I have a lot of experience as an editor, conformist, and color grading artist. This experience helps me to control the workflow, in order to be sure that until the very last moment, the images correspond to the vision of the director, and that nothing in the process deteriorates that vision: problems in post-production, in this digital era, are very frequent, and the cinematographer is the only one who can guarantee the preservation of the work, parameters, esthetic and technical aspects of the image from the beginning to the end. This is why I think it is very important, as a cinematographer, for any project, to be involved very deeply in the post-production process.
This is not a work that I can do alone: the whole purpose is to work with a team. I love to exchange knowledge with other technicians, I love to learn from them.
I also think that communication is the key to solve anything: most of the problems on a shooting always come from a lack of communication. So I always communicate with every member of the crew about what I plan to do priori to the day of shooting, and I expect other members of the crew to be as transparent with me as I am with them. For this, I always create an « image notebook » where I put all the info concerning the shooting, that I distribute to everyone.
In order to achieve a good communication on set, I expect from the director and the producers a total trust, the same trust that I will give them. I strongly believe trust is the key of the team work. We should be able to talk about everything, good or bad, exchange any ideas, explore every field together.
There is no way to make a good movie without that trust. I like to be honest, to really tell what I think, and even if it can be tough, it always comes from a desire to be direct, frank, and benevolent. I believe honesty is a rare quality in a field that is full of hypocrisy, and where flattery is the rule in order to get a job. I expect from directors that same honesty towards me, and I totally accept if they don’t like something I do or propose: it is a way for me to progress.
I believe that we can make progresses only if we are curious about everything, and if we stay open-minded. I love to work in other countries, with local crews, learn their techniques. When I work with a foreign team, I always try to learn the basics of their language so I can give them indications also in their language and be sure that my indications were understood, as well as being able to understand them. I worked in more than 20 countries (France, England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, Israel, Poland, Kosovo, Greece, etc…), I speak fluently French and English, I can also speak Italian, a bit of Spanish, Arabic, Albanian, Armenian, I understand a bit Hungarian, Hebrew… Languages are a passion for me, because it is a way to understand other ways of thinking. Also, it allows me to shoot movies where characters speak other languages and still be able to understand their emotion and their culture.
I don’t believe in competition or virality. I believe that all cinematographers can find their place, and I know I cannot make all the movies in the world, so I am happy that other people do the same job than me. As cinematographers, we are chosen for our sensitivity, and for who we are. And we are all unique, we all have a certain way of seeing the world around us. Sometimes, it fits with some directors and projects, and sometimes not.
I am just competing with myself, trying to make progresses every day, and to become better and better, as a cinematographer and as a human being. Competing with oneself is always a better way to progress than competing with others. I am always happy to meet other cinematographers and to exchange with them, as long as they are humble and curious.