My very first passion I discovered as a child (besides chocolate and annoying our neighborhood) was movies. I have always been a dreamer, and around the age of thirteen I perceived my curiosity not only for watching movies, but also my curiosity for making them.
I spent a lot of time with my two best friends running around in forests trying to capture epic movie scenes (some of them are probably still hidden somewhere in the depths of YouTube). We had some success with our films but somehow, my passion of creating visual content shifted to photography.
Some weeks ago, the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) reached out to me. My reply came without the slightest hesitation when I was asked to document one of their film productions. I got my very first job as a unit still photographer. “A unit still photographer is a person who creates film stills, still photographic images specifically intended for use in the marketing and publicity of feature films in the motion picture industry and network television productions”, Wikipedia explained to me.
Never having done this kind of job before, I was quite nervous when I reached the film set in the early morning hours due to the director of the movie, wanting to work with available light only.
I quickly introduced myself to the whole film crew. The team consisted of the director, the producers, a production manager, the director of photography with two assistants, a boom operator, a sound mixer, a person responsible for the wardrobe and props and last but not least, the cast. I was impressed by the number of crew members, but as they explained to me, it was a rather small team compared to other film sets.
At 7AM, my job began. My assignment consisted of taking pictures behind the scenes, meaning documenting the crew operating behind and in front of the camera, as well as capturing film stills, which would be later used as marketing material.
I approached the given task as follows: First and foremost, I made sure I didn’t interrupt the work of the director of photography by walking into his shot. Making sure the actors and the crew had their space while capturing good stills and behind-the-scenes photos were the hardest task. I had to find new perspectives of the cast acting for some shots being later used for the movie poster. As one of the film scenes was being shot in a small supermarket, I didn’t have that much space to walk around freely in terms of discovering new angles. Most of the scenes were shot over and over again until the director was happy with the film material. That allowed me to capture the scenes from any angle until I was satisfied with the film stills.
Due to the theme of the movie being a melancholic drama with various comedic moments, I tried to adapt my photographic style to it. I challenged myself to find simple, yet interesting moments which reflect the profound mood of the movie and the main characters.
To conclude, this shooting was one of the most interesting assignments I’ve been on. Seeing the mixture of filmography and photography being on a film set itself was very impressive. My pictures are now being used as documentation of the production and most importantly as marketing and advertising tool, such as in social media campaigns and for the movie poster which will be published in various movie festivals in Switzerland and internationally. After seeing the first versions of the movie, I’m really honored and still excited to have taken part in such a mesmerizing project alongside an amazingly creative crew.
The movie is currently still in post production. If you're interested, I'm happy to share more information about the movie once it will be released.
I don't really consider myself a writer, but sometimes I still try to express my experiences about any stuff related to social media marketing and photography.