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Rising Stars: Meet Justin Kane

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin Kane.

Hi Justin, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker from a young age, but my specific path to becoming a cinematographer has come from somewhat unconventional movements in a few different areas of the industry. After undergraduate film school, I started as a mailroom assistant at a major talent agency and then worked for a successful Hollywood director. Photography has always been a grounding inspiration for me throughout my life. It’s a portal for me to travel within and tell a story about people, place, and time…and it was one of the few passions that seemed to come naturally to me. To make images and design a visual language that suits the voice of the story is a dream career, so I felt the urge to apply that on my free time, learn the craft of motion picture photography, and when ready, I left the office world and began working my way up the camera department. A few years in, I decided to apply to the American Film Institute for my Masters Degree in Cinematography. There I met amazing collaborators that I call family a decade later, and I’m lucky to have made this difficult yet fruitful climb in my path to where I am now. Today, both career and passion for cinematography and photography play together seamlessly for me. I still love it like I always have, even with the increased politics and competition that test my confidence. I have so much respect and gratitude for the artists I collaborate with, and I look forward to working with so many more that I admire as I bloom.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It’s been a challenging rise, yet every step of it has been valuable. In the film industry, we work so hard. Long hours, no sleep, paying dues, etc. I’ve definitely experienced a sense of imposter syndrome over the years. I’ll go weeks or even months without a project and suddenly, I feel like I’ve lost my grasp on what this journey is supposed to be or where I am supposed to be by now as an artist. Yet, I’ve had the privilege of shooting some amazing films, and just as it feels like the end something comes and sweeps me off my feet again. The peaks and valleys are very real. It’s the love and respect for the struggle that matters. I’ve also been lucky to be able to do all of this while starting a family and learning how to balance all of it alongside my wonderful supportive wife who is also building her career. Where I am today is still a work in progress with all of that, but I’m getting there and I know that many others experience the same struggles in this kind of life.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m a cinematographer for films, commercials, and music videos. Most of my work is in the dramatic category and I’m proud of the projects that give a voice to stories that need to be told about humanity, society, and nature. The visual language will always serve the story and the director first, but my identity in that does generally have a naturalistic approach as a common thread. I love images that are haunting and can pull viewers in with a static frame -nothing that would point attention to the camera.

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