Spotlight on Cinematography: Dark, Dark my Light

Darkness and stark light in movies help to create negative space, which functions to draw the eye to certain focal points and heighten drama. Sometimes, negative space also creates a feel of tension by emphasizing the solitary nature of an object or highlighting the lack of surroundings. In scenes like the one from Chicago, seen directly below, the shadowy negative spaces makes the glitz and glamour of the scene really stand out. The frame from Moonlight, however, uses shadows and negative space to emphasize the space between the two boys, thereby increasing the tension of the moment. Extreme light and extreme dark are both useful visual tools for filmmakers.

chicago
Chicago (2002) || Dion Beebe (DP)
moulin rouge
Moulin Rouge! (2001) || Donald McAlpine (DP)
la la land
La La Land (2016) || Linus Sandgren (DP)
fight club
Fight Club (1999) || Jeff Cronenweth (DP)
moonlight 2
Moonlight (2016) || James Laxton (DP)
hero
Hero (2002) || Christopher Doyle (DP)
stoker
Stoker (2013) || Chung-hoon Chung (DP)
snow white and the huntsman
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) || Greig Fraser (DP)
we need to talk about kevin
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) || Seamus McGarvey (DP)
neon demon
The Neon Demon (2016) || Natasha Braier (DP)
mr nobody
Mr. Nobody (2009) || Christophe Beaucarne (DP)
matrix
The Matrix (1999) || Bill Pope (DP)

 

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