Camera People of the 21st Century


Production support


Driven by a deep curiosity about how the images that we are creating and looking at transform us, Kirsten Johnson broadens the questions she first explored in her film CAMERAPERSON and updates them for the present moment. With CAMERAPEOPLE OF THE 21ST CENTURY, Kirsten invites a collective of international documentary cinematographers who hail from the broadest range of perspectives possible to initiate dramatic re-visitations - fictional, interpretive and investigative - of their own footage, to engage a conversation about time, memory, identity, subjective experience, and ethics.

Through its cumulative juxtaposition of material shot by camerapeople and its reflective portraiture shot by Johnson, the film will open to its viewers the rich and active territory of position-shifting that camerapeople constantly experience through their work. Watching the film will require the audience to participate in the improvisatory nimbleness, the emotional openness, the intellectual dexterity and ethical conundrums that face the person who holds the camera.

What does it mean to film people in an age when there are increasing threats to privacy, ever-growing accuracy in facial recognition, expansive acts of surveillance, and political repression? What does it mean to “create” images of others? And how do images shift in meaning over time in wholly unpredictable ways? We will take the viewer around the world, into the minds and hearts of those filmed and those filming, asking them to consider questions like these while attempting to understand how each human’s conscious experience of the world is distinct.

CAMERAPEOPLE OF THE 21ST CENTURY embraces the idea that camerapeople from all over the world have shot footage that embodies their completely unique subjectivity and that it is only from a deep inquiry of this multiplicity of perspectives that we can begin to grasp the
profound challenges we all now face in the era of social media and constant connectivity. Together, we will explore the dilemmas that animate our filming lives and are mutating into new forms in the digital age.