The opening shots to this interview with Mark Romanek show Mark talking about a picture of Stanley Kubrick he’s had since high school. He describes Kubrick’s intensity in the picture as he watches an actor get set up for a shot. Romanek’s work is a lot like Kubrick’s – crisp wide angle panning shots, sharp highlights, embracing texture and light. It’s obvious that Romanek emulates Kubrick.
Mark Romanek’s work is pretty recognizable as well – most of his work shows up in music videos. The one I remember most vividly is a video done for Fiona Apple where it looks like he shot in a dark 70’s ranch style house with the kind of carpet I remember crawling on as a baby. It looks like he used a spot light mounted on a rig held camera, panning over the bodies of sleeping party goers, post party. For years I’ve thought about how he achieved the spotlight effect with such crisp detail and sharp light drop off, and I’ve tried doing the same in my own photography with varying degrees of success.
I’ve always really enjoyed Kubrick’s work, and I’m happy to see that Romanek has been a fan since at least high school, and has studied this one photograph and analyzed and thought about Kubrick’s dedication to detail. While I’m happy that Romanek’s work is influenced by Kubrick, I’m more happy that Romanek seems to have the same sort of intensity and passion for his work that Kubrick did. And despite his influences, it’s obvious that he can be quite original. I look forward to everything he creates.
Hillman Curtis shot and edited the video.