The Cinematography of ‘Black Bird’

Being able to lens all six episodes allowed cinematographer Natalie Kingston the opportunity to thread visual motifs throughout “Black Bird.” The nuanced approach created a subtle, sullen tone that deepened the performances and unsettling storyline. “I’m always attracted to darker material, and especially when something is exploring the human psyche and the human condition,” Kingston told IndieWire. Inspiration for the visual language, in part, came from Gordon Parks’ 1957 photo essay “The Atmosphere of Crime,” with its pastel colors and expressive, natural lighting. In framing the “uncomfortable, tense” series, Kingston explored the “depth of toxic masculinity,” capturing intimate close-ups with ARRI’s large-format camera the Alexa Mini LF and Panavision H spherical lenses for their vintage, creamy aesthetics. “So much of the show is centered around this disturbingly interesting relationship between the main characters Jimmy Keene and Larry Hall,” the cinematographer said. “And one of the ways to create and maintain that tension is to really keep the camera physically inside that conversation so the audience would really feel like they weren’t able to escape.”

Read the full article and watch the video interviews here.