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Cinematographer and documentarian Kirsten Johnson has compiled moments from her films and made a memoir of her work as a “camera person.“


The visuals stand on their own at first. Moments: a shaky hand, glimpses of a Bosnian shepherd pushing his herd across a street, close ups of wild flowers. A young amateur boxer, nervous and restless in the locker room before a Golden Gloves fight. An old women with lively eyes masking dementia. Scenic miniatures are added to the highlights: a young black women who reproaches herself for getting pregnant again in an abortion clinic. A car drive to a prison in Baghdad and the attempt to produce effective images out of it. A prosecutor in the US south who is debating whether to present forensic photographs of a horrific, racist murder. They are rarely “finished“ images, often presenting the search for the right shot. Sometimes you can hear the camera woman and others involved, her talking to herself, struggling to get the right image. Kristen Johnson made these images in the course of 25 years as a cinematographer of documentaries like PROFIT & NOTHING BUT! OR IMPOLITE THOUGHTS ON THE CLASS STRUGGLE by Raoul Peck or DERRIDA by Kirby Dick and Amy Zierig Kofman, Michael Moore‘s FAHRENHEIT 451 and THE OATH and CITIZENFOUR by Laura Poitras. CAMERAPERSON is a personal reflection of this work and shows the correspondences and the conflicts in an associative and loose montage made up of seemingly disparate elements of her own archive which is thoughtful, moving, and also depressing. CAMERAPERSON is both a memoir and a complex self-interrogation of an attitude towards the world, a meditation on the practice of documentary work.

Sebastian Markt

Translation: Elinor Lewy


USA 2016, 102 min
Genre: Documentary
Director: Kirsten Johnson
Author: Doris Baizley, Lisa Freedman
DOP: Kirsten Johnson
Montage: Nels Bangerter
Music: Wellington Bowler, Carla Kihlstedt, Dino Rešidbegović
Distributor: Unbekannt
Release: 12.04.2018




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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