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How to build a photographic series from a cinematic point of view

By nature, film language appears as a suite of images, movies are therefore close to photographic series. This brings the notion of sequence and narrative unit consisting of a series of shots into the language of the photographic series.

First, let's start by identifying the scene and sequence. The usual confusion between both their meaning comes from academic and professional contexts. Unlike the academic world and technically speaking, the film crew defines sequence as a series of shots delimited in time and space. The scene frames a set of sequences and corresponds to an overall idea and an issue of the film.

Considering a sequence as a narrative unit reporting an event and a scene as a set of events enables us to match a shot with a single photography and a sequence to a photographic series.

Cinematographic language has developed a whole set of codes and processes to combine shots one after the other and giving a feeling of continuity between them. To build a photo series from a cinematic point of view, keep these three types of cuts in mind.

  • Axial cut : is a form of jump cut, where the camera moves closer or farther away from the subject while keeping the same axis.

  • Matching cut : when a gesture begins in one shot, then it keeps going in the next shot. For example, a character exits from the right, then, in the next shot, logically appears from the left or vice versa. The cut suits all shots and is consistent with the logic of the shooting. It is a common practice in filmmaking, delivering a seamless reality-effect.

  • Eyeline match : begins with a character looking at something off-screen, followed by a cut of another object or person. In movies, many directors prefer not revealing immediately what the character sees, the reverse shot, to increase suspense.

Such processes are entirely relevant to the order of the images in a photo series : being aware of their existence is, therefore, of great use to the serial photographer.

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