Documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson shares some of the key moments from her remarkable career
‘Cameraperson’ is a kind of video memoir, a compilation of snippets from films shot by filmmaker and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson over the past 25 years (her credits include ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’, and ‘Citizenfour’). What we see in the film is a montage of the moments that have lodged in her memory. And they’re extraordinary: a midwife literally bringing a newborn baby back to life in a ramshackle maternity hospital in Nigeria; a prosecutor describing the murder of an African-American man by white supremacists in Texas – chained up and dragged for over a mile in their pick-up truck.
‘Cameraperson’ is a thoughtful examination of the role of the documentary-maker, showing us how it feels to be that person behind the camera. We hear Johnson’s ‘oooh’ of wonder at a sudden lightning flash, her gasp of horror as a tiny toddler in Bosnia tries to yank an axe out of a tree stump. Her doc is thoughtful on the ethical dilemmas of a filmmaker who trains a camera on people at their most vulnerable.