Globetrotting Cinematographer Reflects on the Ethics of Her Craft in Cameraperson

Categories:  Events    Film
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 at 9:15 AM
Globetrotting Cinematographer Reflects on the Ethics of Her Craft in Cameraperson by Dan Schank

Wednesday, June 22

For the past 15 years, cinematographer Kirsten Johnson has been jet-setting across the globe to film some of the world’s most vulnerable, inspiring, and troubling places.

In Iraq, she profiled the first female soldier ever sent into combat for the documentary feature Lioness. With Academy award-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras, she interviewed prisoners at Guantanamo Bay (2008’s The Oath) and set up camp in a Hong Kong hotel room as Edward Snowden exposed big secrets about government surveillance (2014’s Citizenfour). She has visited refugee camps in Sudan, profiled French philosopher Jacques Derrida, documented political campaigns in Liberia, and interviewed rape victims in the American military.

With 2016’s Cameraperson, she shifts her focus inward. According to a statement released on the film’s website, she hopes to “convey the immediacy of finding oneself in new territory with a camera as well as giving the audience a sense of how the accumulation of joys and dilemmas a cameraperson must juggle builds over time.”

Documentaries are often associated with objectivity and neutrality – facts instead of fiction. Johnson’s film complicates these assumptions.

Documentaries are often associated with objectivity and neutrality – facts instead of fiction. Johnson’s film complicates these assumptions by focusing on the power imbalances that arise alongside her work. How can documentary filmmakers avoid jeopardizing the safety of their subjects? How can one establish trust in a war-torn area? Is it ethical to offer exposure to the subjugated, rather than material goods?

Cameraperson raises these questions – and more – while avoiding tidy, reassuring answers. – Dan Schank

Doors at 6 p.m., Film at 7 p.m. // Erie Art Museum, 411 State St. // erieartmuseum.org/events/film.htm

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IN THIS ISSUE

Local politicians Breneman and Brennan unite to engage the community and combat Erie’s east side blight.

 

Erie stands with Standing Rock 

Barbara and Julian Stanczak at Mercyhurst University’s Cummings Gallery

Erie will become a “Broadway Christmas Wonderland” for just one night.

Australian musician Joe Robinson will play a special performance for one night only at PACA.

Black America Again addresses many social issues that tie into one overall message: freedom. 

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Standing in solidarity with communities targeted in the 2016 election. 

Aqueous returns to the Kings Rook Club fresh off the release of a new album and heavy touring.

The Mercyhurst Dance Department will perform ’Tis the Season, featuring “The Nutcracker Suite.”