Like no other medium, film, through it’s inherent qualities, has redefined how we experience images, and ultimately how we participate in that experience. With such a powerful medium at their disposal, filmmakers have created fictional, but convincing, worlds that explore—perhaps even press—the boundaries of our perception. They challenge our disbelief and, in some cases, upend our conception of traditional narrative; how it functions and what it reveals and/or conceals. Through the manipulation of the image, linear and non-linear modes of narrative, literal and metaphorical meaning, is constructed. This has, it could be argued, impacted human perception itself: The sheer pleasure of looking is often so seductive that we willingly suspend our disbelief and negotiate between what we know to be true and what we desire to be real.
Cinematography is, of course, a direct extension of photography; the creation of a series of filmic images that combine to form an apparently seamless, single ‘image,’ or event. However, if we acknowledge the mechanics of the cinematic image, we come to understand the enormous potential of the post-cinematic image and how, because of its relationship to the history of cinema, the photographic image in particular has been imbued with a new sense of possibility. The enduring legacy of photography, coupled with that of cinema, has set the scene (so to speak) for artists who came of age during the mid to late twentieth century; heirs to the golden age of cinema. Consequently, this generation of artists took its cues from popular cinema, challenging the assumption that photography is merely about “seeing”. Instead, these artists take the approach that photography, as much as cinema or any other art form, for that matter, is about rendering what they have imagined, visible. Rather than merely “capturing what they see,” this generation of photographers employs a variety of techniques to stage what appears to be a fleeting moment, but which ultimately reveals itself to be fantasy—fiction!—disguised as pictorial realism .