Introducing Writing with a Camera

This site is designed to help you as a student or emerging media maker express yourself in the contemporary media ecosystem. The articles, reference guides, and glossary cover the gamut of moving image literacy, applied media aesthetics, production techniques, and some history. If you have any suggestions on how to improve this site, please get in touch with me through the contact form.

This site is inspired by the notion of caméra-stylo (camera pen).  In 1948 filmmaker and theorist Alexandre Astruc suggested this notion in his essay, “The Birth of a New Avant-Garde: La Caméra-Stylo.” He imagines that cinema will eventually break free of the demands of classical narrative and images and will become a flexible means of writing with the same expressive power, complexity, and subtly, of written language. Astruc also envisioned a distribution system with “projectors for everyone,” anticipating what we experience with YouTube and other online video services today.

Today, writing with a camera has yet to achieve the expressiveness Astruc envisioned, but the trend towards its realization is palpable. Astruc would have loved our contemporary media lanscape, especially artist’s videos, music videos, and personal essays challenging traditional film grammar. Astruc wrote that the future of cinema will revolve around the director as auteur, which was an important idea behind the French New Wave.

Fast forward to the present: personal videos shared on Vimeo and YouTube and the renaissance of television series on subscription channels like Netflix and Amazon have become the dominant narrative forms of a new generation. Astruc’s idea of film as a language independent of literature provides the theoretical and historical foundation for this web site. We are in the midsts of a cultural transformation in which the moving image is becoming more personal, a form of visual writing, we are both media producers and consumers as we enter a new age of “visual orality” (following Walter Ong’s analysis).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.