Professor Terry Flaxton

About me

I practised cinematography for 25 years in the UK industry, and now research the subject with emphasis on incoming technologies and their aesthetic affects on the practitioners and their audience. As an academic I have my work regularly published. I have been responsible for winning around 800k research awards. I recently directed two iterations of the Bristol International Festival of Cinematography plus numerous other events, including a recent Cultural Ecology of the Medium Sized City Symposium which looked at the way light affects architectural space.

Cinematography is the art of capturing the image, sometimes through illuminating the subject, sometimes by making wise choices about how you expose the light reflecting from what is in front of you onto your capture medium, be it photo-chemical or electronic. On another level the notion of reflection as contemplation is paramount in that it is imperative to consider what is happening to both the material of light and what that means in relation to human experience. By examining the increasing capabilities of motion imaging, this is also reveals the development of Digital Technologies and how the tsunami of innovation is affecting everything we know. The human gaze employs many strategies to examine the world; Chomsky speaks about language and thought and their co-dependent arising, but concurrent with these two is the energy of the gaze which is could be argued to be a bi-directional energy. Todays VR experience, imax screen, magic lantern experience, painting or yesterdays cave wall are also mediators of two time periods: 'now' and 'before'. Cinematography, because it is a way of enabling images to appear on the screen, is also a mediator of both 'now' and what came before. It seems to me to be a tool, if used as a metaphor, for whatever the human gaze is currently developing as a strategy to define its own ontological state.

I spent 25 years as a cinematographer and programme maker, creating many projects on subjects such as video art, super power relations and third world power-plays, female genital mutilation, the formation of a British Health service and more - which have been nominated and in some cases won awards, such as the Grierson Documentary Award, RTS Award, Prix Italia, Prix Graph Montbeliard, Pro-max, South West Screen Production award, SWS Writing award, Prix Nikki Amsterdam, Montbeliard and Locarno Film Festival awards. My work is held in National and International collections and I have had retrospectives at various international festivals including, Mill Valley, California and the Rome Film Festival, 2010. One of my recent AHRC works, 'In Re Ansel Adams',  has been accepted into the permanent collection of the Harris Museum in Preston and another of my AHRC Research Works In Other people's Skins' was accepted for a case study for the AHRC as well as exhibiting in around 10 cathedrals internationally (and exhibited in the Presidential Palace in Florence in the Diffrazzioni Festival in November 2016). My latest work, 'The Intersection of Dreams' a restaging of Dali's Crucifixion, exhibited to over 650 thousand people in 2015 at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York and has returned there in October 2017 for another 6 month run.​

Area of expertise

Cinematography, HDR, Expanding Parameters of the Moving Image

My Publications