Language of the Image: Robbie Ryan

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Robbie Ryan has been shooting since he was fourteen. He’s now forty-eight. That’s thirty-four years behind the camera! His career is not the easiest to summarize, but this video focuses on three key aspects of Ryan’s strength as a cinematographer.

First, there’s his adaptability. The truth is that shooting a film directed by Ken Loach is not the same as shooting one by Andrea Arnold! And that’s to say nothing of his recent, soon-to-be-released collaboration with Yorgos Lanthimos, another director with a very recognizable visual style.

Also remarkable is Ryan’s desire to shoot on actual celluloid film whenever possible — something he continues to do, especially in his collaborations with Loach. They have already made three movies together, and all three are in 35mm.

But his longest-running collaboration by far is the one he has with Andrea Arnold. This relationship deserves to be analyzed in detail. It began with the short film Wasp, released in 2003, and to date, their partnership has also given us the feature films Red Road, Fish Tank, Wuthering Heights, and American Honey.

Thirty-four years of a career means around eighty film projects in total! Fortunately, Ryan has a lot of work to do in the coming years, both with directors he’s used to, like Andrea Arnold, Sally Potter, and Ken Loach, and ones he hasn’t worked with before, like the aforementioned Yorgos Lanthimos. Needless to say, we’re happy to hear it!

Watch Now: Wuthering Heights, a recent collaboration between Ryan and Andrea Arnold that breathes new life into the classic story by Emily Brontë, is available for streaming on Fandor!

Learn to speak the language of the image, with videos on some of our favorite cinematographers — like Michael Ballhaus, Maryse Alberti, Yves Bélanger, Bruno Delbonnel, Emmanuel Lubezki, and Wally Pfister — and their distinct ways of working behind the camera for some of the world’s most beloved directors and their award-winning films.

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