Recently, I watched Finding Vivian Maier, a brilliant documentary about one of the greatest street photographers to have ever lived. The kicker is Vivian Maier’s work wasn’t discovered until after her death, when boxes of undeveloped rolls of her film were bought at auction. It was truly fascinating to see one man’s mission to piece together this intriguing woman’s life story. I adore Maier’s photography and I can’t recommend this documentary movie enough.
Another very different movie is Samsara. This is a truly unique visual experience. It’s a breathtaking tour of the world, focusing on religious sites, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders. It juxtaposes scenes of great beauty against extremes of nature and flaws of humankind. It is fascinating for photographers because the videography utilizes many of the composition techniques also used by still photographers. People stare intensely into the camera. Often scenes feel like still travel photos that have been brought to life.
Released in 2011, Samsara is the follow-up to creator Ron Fricke’s 1992 movie Baraka, another absolute must-see. If you’re into travel photography, it’s likely these films will have a profound and lasting effect on you. I know they did on me.
What are some other movies that all photographers should try to watch? Let’s curate a list of recommendations!