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Master of Light Robby Müller as a Photographer and a Cinematographer.

I was thinking about my favorite films and the common things about them at the last year of Film school. The year was 1996. If I don’t count Tarkovsky's , Ridley Scott's and Kubrick's films the rest of ones, like 'Paris Texas', 'Der Americanische Freund', 'Down by Law', 'Mystery Train', 'Barfly', 'Breaking the Waves' have just one common thing. The subjects, the directors, the countries, the locations, the cast and many other things were different but just name of the cinematographer Robby Müller.

Robby Müller with Wim Wenders

The reason what remind me all this is a new exhibition at Eye Amsterdam about the dutch cinematographer Robby Müller.

Müller became a master in making the most of natural and available light. He is one of those exceptional cameraman who respect existing conditions and works with them. No theatrical or expressive lighting for Müller. You could say he is more Vermeer then Caravaggio.

Paris Texas by Wim Wenders
The American Friend by Wim Wenders

In his camerawork too, his framing and in the way he captures a 'story' in images. Müller shows restraint. Sparing in his use of close-ups and avoiding the zoom lens, he handles the camera as a tool that serves and observes, offering space not only actors, but also, through long takes and wide shots, for the viewers.

The American Friend by Wim Wenders

He invented 'kino flo' lighting. He placed the TL lights when he need to work small places and limited locations.

He is the one of first cinematographer who use digital cameras on film making.

He refused to shot a 'happy end' on 'Paris Texas' while his was divorcing in the same time on real life.

He never liked to work with big productions, large crews and tight datelines and pushing .

'' He was a rebel who doesn’t like saying what he has to do'' says Jim Jarmusch.

What have Ilearned from Robby Müller;

  • Be patient to take your shot! Wait and observe for the best light of the location.

  • Feel the sense! What is the sense of your work? What is the sense of the script or concept try to figure it out. Then focus this feeling.

  • Use the light, color, camera lenses according the sense of the work.

  • Be your self whatever the others expectations.

  • Fallow your sense not the others rules.

  • Focus what you are doing not the many and fame!

Barfly by Barbet Schroeder

You can see the exhibition until 4 September 2016 at here EYE in Amsterdam.

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