Sven Nykvist


If I have a good lens and a camera that is steady, that’s enough. I’m not crazy about the new toys that come up each year. I like simplicity. It’s taken me 30 years to come up with simplicity. So I don’t use diffusion filters or colour filters on the lens. I use colour filters on the lights, because if you use it on the camera and it’s not right, then the labs cannot do anything about it. But if you are clean–no filters at all–you can get the same result in the lab.

On Winter Light (1963) we tried to find out something about film lighting: how do we light to make it look real? The French Nouvelle Vague directors were then shooting on location. So, we started to shoot on location in Sweden, and I found I could get a much more realistic atmosphere.

This also applied to composition. We were so restricted that we were simple, because we didn’t have a choice. That helped me later when I came into the studio. I asked for a ceiling on the set so that I wouldn’t be able to use lights. Bergman and I promised each other that we would not have any shadows at all. So we started to use indirect lighting-bounced lighting. Except for the 30 seconds when sunlight walks through the church; the light we used is important and has meaning.

-Sven Nykvist.

I think..

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