Today we’d like to introduce you to Lowell A. Meyer.
Lowell, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born in NYC, and in my adolescence found myself undeniably drawn to a handful of interests: Skateboarding, travel, storytelling, and photography. It wasn’t long before I was combining all of these (every skater has a camera to film their tricks, every traveler does too, and with a story to boot), and doing so with like-minded friends in high school and college, that I soon saw how the field of cinematography was a perfect amalgamation of them all.
I studied my craft at Emerson College in Boston, and met many other gifted individuals with whom I continue to work today, and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career with what contacts and insights I had gained while in school. I mainly took one day-long gigs here and there, often as a 2nd AC or loader, until I started to find more and more work on independent films. I got very lucky to have found enough work and contacts to thrust me onto some truly outstanding projects, such as the films Fruitvale Station and Dear White People, before finally being able to carve out enough work as a freelance cinematographer.
Since then, I’ve been hustling to film as many narrative projects as possible, while keeping myself afloat with commercial work. My first few narratives that garnished festival and online acclaim were short films with filmmakers like Clara Aranovich, Zach Lasry, Jim Cummings, Natalie Metzger, and Celine Held & Logan George. I’ve been fortunate enough to build a working relationship with a lot of these directors who have gone on to make feature films and bring me with them on the journey. There’s nothing clearer in that regard than Cummings’ feature Thunder Road: after filming five shorts with Jim, he entrusted me to photograph the adaptation of his wildly successful short which would then become a wildly successful feature (winning the grand jury prizes at both SXSW and Deauville).
I’m currently gearing up for Held & George’s first feature film and reading more scripts with new and old filmmakers to see what’s next in store for me.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Ever since I set out on my career path as a cinematographer, my mind has been set on capturing the richest of characters, environments, and narratives on screen, aided by fellow creatives, to educate, entertain, and enlighten our audiences. I love the thrill of being on set, holding the camera up on my shoulder, staying tuned into the scene – constructed or not – in front of me, guided by my instincts as well as those of my directors. There’s nothing more exhilarating than setting forth in a pursuit of reality through the lens of a camera, whether that’s with a crew of forty – with trucks, cranes, generators, dollies, carts, etc. – or with a crew of four – crammed into a minivan with all of the batteries, hard drives, water bottles, and junk food we can manage.
I consider the role of a cinematographer to be a great privilege, as I am entrusted by both those behind the camera with their vision, time, resources, and passion, and of course by those in front of the camera with their vulnerability, humility, story, and image. I am honored to have found a way to combine my passions with my income, as well as to do it in such a life-changing and far-reaching way. There’s nothing more awe-inspiring than to see months (or even years) of hard work illuminated on a big (or small) screen for hundreds, thousands, and sometimes even millions to hear what I had to say and view what I had to show them.
Every day I go to work I get to play, I get to problem-solve, and I get to do it all alongside my friends. It’s a dream job for me.
In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I think the biggest challenge facing artists today is standing out against the incredibly prolific and highly available online-age of artist. There’s more competition and voices than ever, and that means that anyone creating anything nowadays has to truly have something to say that will rise above the noise, as well as to get financial compensation for what they do.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can see a lot of my work on my website www.lowellameyer.com. My feature Thunder Road is available on Amazon, and my latest feature Greener Grass is still playing at a few festivals around the country before coming out in theaters via IFC later this year. And a few of my shorts are in the Vimeo Staff Picks collection, as well as that of Short of the Week, including the short films “Caroline,” “Krista,” “Seth,” “Babs,” “Hydrangea,” and “Primrose.”
Lowell A. Meyer