Authorship and the Director of Photography

A Case Study of Gregg Toland and Citizen Kane
by PHILIP COWAN, University of South Wales 

The artistic contribution of Directors of Photography to the films that they shoot, in narrative mainstream cinema, have been historically ignored in favour of the director-centred auteur theory. In order to address this imbalance a new approach to attributing authorship in film needs to be implemented, which acknowledges co-authorship in collaborative film-making.

By taking established auteur methodologies Philip Cowan, himself a practicing Director of Photography, analyses the work of Gregg Toland, who has long been recognised for his technical contribution to Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941), but only by analysing his previous work can one actually realise the depth of his influence on the visualisation of Kane.

The full article was published by Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association.



More about authorship from the same author: Underexposed: The neglected art of the cinematographer



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