Tim Orr Interview: ‘Dickinson’ cinematographer

“One of the things about any art form is that you can form it best when you’re inspired,” declares cinematographer Tim Orr about his work on the AppleTV+ gothic dramedy “Dickinson,” which explores the early life of famous poet Emily Dickinson. “There were so many instances within the stories that we were telling where we were offered that inspiration.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Orr above.

“Dickinson” stars multi-hyphenate Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld as the literary icon in the coming-of-age dramedy set in the 1850s with a contemporary edge. The series has many of the hallmarks of a lavish period piece – the stylized lensing, the intricate costumes, the ornate sets – but it is told in a more modernized way, with modern music and sensibilities that speaks to a younger, more hip audience.

“Emily Dickinson’s story has been told several times, in film especially, but this take is certainly different. It’s not masterpiece theater. It’s a bit bolder and it has a modern edge to it,” he explains. “It makes it feel useful and alive and give insight to Emily’s world, her young life that really hasn’t been touched on as much in other film projects. We really wanted to push the envelope in that regard and have it feel really cinematic and within the color, beyond the lighting, it’s slightly pushed to become something that is vivid and alive.”

“When I read something and it says there’s an eclipse [for example], then I think well that’s going to be difficult,” Orr explain. “But you take it on as a challenge and I think we can all do our best work when you are challenged and you have to figure out a way to photograph it, to light it and do it in a way that tells a story and through your inspiration also inspires the audience to learn more about Emily Dickinson and maybe do something creative themselves.”

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UPLOADED Apr 10, 2020 11:15 am