This was the book I was reading at the same time as the other, to complement its practicality.
This book consists of a series of edited and structured interviews with 18 great cinematographers from various different countries, from the black and white days until (almost) the present. Each of them discuss their beginnings as a cinematographer, stories from their working life, their individual approach to lighting a scene or choosing a script or collaborating with a director, their individual influences, their philosophy on the role of cinematography and film, and their best advice for new cinematographers. Each chapter is accompanied by photographs from the shooting of their films, storyboards and diagrams, images that have influenced them, and screen shots from their work.
What a fantastic book! I read one chapter per day. All of the cinematographers had fascinating stories to tell, and it was great to see the many different approaches they had to their art. Reading this also finally made me understand why many people mourn the fact that film is being replaced by digital - the descriptions of the particular care taken in developing each film and the different processes they used to control the colours etc gave me a window of insight into the value of film that I've never had before. Best of all though was being able to read about the cinematographers choices for each film and then compare them directly with the photographs to see the actual result of the techniques and ideas they spoke about; after all, the point of reading the book was to develop my visual my eye for these things. As someone who doesn't have a natural instinct for it, it was invaluable to have the theory spelt out for me with such great concrete examples.