It's true - most people aren't too sure of what a cinematographer is. They know that it has something to do with being behind the camera in film and most would probably be more familiar with the title of DP or Director of Photography. Same thing. This is the person who creates the look of the film, the person who translates the directors idea into the visual that you end up seeing at the movies. It's a collaborative effort.
Naturally, being a director - I was drawn to cinematography because I'm also an certified wack job perfectionist. (A gift and a curse by the way) When the scripts come to life in my head, I need them to look the exact same way on film, and I thought to myself I want to be in control of that and learn how it all works. I think it's important for any director to be able to have at least a technical conversation with their DP as well as have an in-depth understanding of what they do and are capable of.
I never went to school for film or editing or cinematography or any of it. I'm a student of life in the School of Hard Knocks. I learn by trial and error which really means f*cking up and screaming at no one in particular until I figure it out how to fix it (YouTube is my best friend). At the bare minimum I consider myself a visualist. I like to create things that are pleasing to the eye which in turn (hopefully) can create some kind of emotion or reaction. I'm fascinated by the things you can achieve in cinematography.
Are there any readers that are cinematographers? If so - tell me what you love or dislike about it. Let's vibe!