Christopher Doyle On The Artistic Process
Christopher Doyle is a remarkable cinematographer whose work with visionary director Wong Kar Wai has yielded a number of absolutely gorgeous films, including 2046, In the Mood for Love and Happy Together. His use of light and color meld beautifully to create a remarkably visceral canvas on which the stories of the films are allowed to play out against. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Doyle’s work often becomes a character in and of itself – a supporting actor, if you will, to the main cast of characters – and helps add drama to the narrative.
“Art is what artists make. So, the process is to become an artist, it’s not to make art.” – Christopher Doyle
Recently, author and European correspondent of American Cinematographer magazine, Benjamin B (he also runs thefilmbook), had the chance to sit down with Doyle to discuss the artistic process. It’s a fascinating conversation, with Doyle making the case that not only does art come from hard work, not merely waiting for inspiration to strike, but that the entire process should be as personal as possible. Great artists, Doyle says are at ease with themselves and, above all, they are able to embrace the mistakes that are inevitable within the process, a process he believes is rooted in connection and engagement, whether with fellow collaborators or the audience. He makes an interesting point, and one that my friend Mike H. used to tell me years ago, and that is you really have little to no control over the outcome, meaning how the work is received. All you can do is decide when to start. Just be present and do the work.