While preparing my notes and questions for the interview of London based international director of photography Jake Scott, I was hit with the dreaded blank page.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t draw inspiration from his work: contrary to my own mind at the time, Jake Scott’s world is anything but empty. It was that I could draw too much: I was pulled into a multitude of different, but equally exciting, directions, and I didn’t know which way to turn. What to ask? Which subjects to broach? How to find the questions tha
would best pique the interest of the readers?
An insightful friend of mine then asked me what I, personally, wanted to know about Jake Scott.
Why was I interviewing him in the first place? Was it because of the depths of his work?
The subtleties of his character? My problem was, I wanted to know everything.
Who was this talented director, beyond the person behind a resume so impressive it would make you question your own credentials?
Who was he, not only as a photographer, or an artist, but as a fellow human?
What did he wish the world would see in him? What made him feel alive, beyond measure and reason?
Who was the man behind the camera?
This is what I wanted to know. But despite my already burning curiosity, I still needed a place to start.
And where better to start than at the beginning?
So let us retrace the very first steps Jake Scott took as a d.o.p, and walk with him into his world of art.
TVL: Reflecting on your career to date, how has your on set process changed?
JS: Knowing what I know now, you can’t expect to have all the answers from the start. I used to rely on consistent relationships with a crew that I knew and trusted, but as my career has developed I’ve become much more at ease with parachuting into new shoots in foreign lands and galvanising the respect of a new crew and director.
"The work of a director of photography involves more than merely freezing a movie to produce empty snapshots. Combining the vision of the movie director and the vision of the artist requires a clever dance between both points of view ; one could even describe this relationship as symbiose, from which the actors' cues and emotions are given a visual quality and morphed into stills.
The movie director entrusts the director of photography with the world they are building ; the director of photography is tasked with the mission to both convey the essence of the movie director's work, and to take said work to places the movie director would not have thought of on their own. The director of photography is handed the reins of this world, not with rigid, tightly closed hands, but with a gentle and flexible grip. Both directors are working hand in hand to create a visual environment through colors, framing and lighting, and to build the film’s look through images, product of a shared calling to tell a story."
Jack Scott provided us with some answers on how he finds this necessary balance within his work.