List: Top Ten Best Movies about Photography

List: Top Ten Best Movies about Photography

I love movies. Maybe even as much as photography. Being a fan of movies means I am also a fan of movie lists, because they help me to discover films I may not have seen. Also, with my being a mildly OCD photographer, I began thinking about which films relate to photography. There are surprisingly few that I have seen or heard of. So I decided to compile a list of my ten favorites, in ascending order. Note that this list is in no way exhaustive, so please add your suggestions in the comment section below.

10. One Hour Photo- This is a dark thriller, starring Robin Williams as a one-hour photo clerk at a Walmart who stalks a family whose rolls of film he regularly develops. Though the film doesn't center on the act of taking pictures, it certainly deals with the photos we take and how they are interacted with. Plus Williams is fantastic in it.
9. High Art- An art house film that is moody and beautifully shot. It centers on a female photographer and a female reporter that captures her love and attention. Inspiration ensues.
8. Rear WindowSimilar to One Hour Photo, Rear Window is less about the act of photography but takes place in the realm of image taking and people watching. This time the main character is a photographer on disability who, in his hours of bored window watching, sees what he thinks to be a crime. A classic.
7. CloserJulia Roberts plays a successful portrait photographer who gets caught up in a love triangle with Jude Law and Clive Owen. There is only a little bit of photography that takes place in the film, but it is beautifully shot and an accurate depiction of the process.
6. PeckerWarning. This is a John Waters film. That means weirdness is rampant. But so is hilarity. Edward Furlong plays the "next big thing" type of photographer. He can do no wrong. Coming from art school, the cynical tongue-in-cheek treatment of the art world is surprisingly spot on.
5. Blow-UpA classic. Filmed in the 60's, fashion photographer Thomas, played by David Dennings, when developing prints from his outdoor photo shoot, discovers that he has incidentally captured a murder in the background.
4. ProofA relatively unknown film. Hugo Weaving plays a blind photographer who has his photos described to him by a friend, played by Russell Crowe. This sounds like a gimmick, but it is beautifully acted and photographed.
3. Under FireNick Nolte plays a wartime photojournalist, stationed in Nicaragua. One of the more technically sound portrayals of a working photographer.
2. Born Into BrothelsThis is actually a documentary. Two filmmakers go into the brothels of Calcutta and hand out cameras to the child prostitutes. They encourage them to shoot their lives, which result in them having a  gallery opening in NYC. This is simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring. A must see for everyone- not just photographers.
1. City Of God- A fictional portrayal of two boys growing up in the favelas of Brazil. One of the boys grows up to be a photographer and the other, a drug dealer. Not only the best photography film, IMO, but also one of my favorite films. 

Honorable mentions- Fur-an imagined biopic of of photographer Diane Arbus, who is played by Nicole Kidman. Guinevere- A story of a photographer (Stephen Rea) and his student/subject/lover, played by Sarah Polley. Smoke- Though this is not a photography film, there is a thread in the movie where Harvey Keitel's character takes a photo of the street corner outside of his cigar shop everyday for decades. It's an incredibly moving scene.

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Standard Operating Procedure, while ostensibly a documentary about the Abu Ghraib scandal, is really more about the nature of photography and how photos are such an arbitrary and interesting way of perceiving reality. I recommend it, it's really well done, and it's got some beautifully shot stuff by Robert Richardson in it.

Definitely think "The Killing Fields" should have been number one. The scene where they are trying to develop a new passport photo is one of the most moving and best acted scenes ever.

rlly.. bang bang club is, like, among top 3, if not the first

How about '5 Days of War'? That was a good one.

Check out Hard Candy.

As long as we are including any movie that has a camera in frame at some point, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Austin does a photoshoot with Ivana Humalot.

Funny Face

there are quite some movies in there that arent about photogaphy, i mean a film like ' closer' or even ' city of god' arent about photography at all, they feature photographers and are really good films (the latter the best) but thats all

where as a film like bang bang club is about photography

Hey how about "Paparazzi??? " :)))))

How can " Z" not be on the list. Canon and Nikon on the screen more than Yves Montand !!!!! And if you have no camera and photographer. then you have no Movie. Please check out " Z" one of the most awesome movies about the power of photography ever made, in my opinion .

And what about the " Eyes of Laura Mars" Didn't Helmut Newton and Rebecca Blake supply the photographs that Faye Dunaway was shooting as Laura Mars. come on.


Fur doesn't make top ten?
I'm appalled.

If you want a really demented one check out Hard Candy starring Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson.

Nah, Hard Candy is a boring film, although the movie revolves around a photographer.

I actually loved that movie.

"What is your favorite movie about photography?" not really my favorite, but first photography movie to pop into my head was "No Small Affair" think it was early 80's, starring Jon Cryer and Demi Moore.

Big fan of Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart so "Rear Window" would probably be my favorite.

Would also throw "The Year of Living Dangerously" into the mix. Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt.

Which Way is the Front Line From Here: The Life and Death of Tim Hetherington was one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. It just came out on HBO April 28th and it's very hard to see it outside of the US right now but it deffinetly desserves to be on this list.

How about the British film 'Peeping Tom'? Reminiscent of Hitchcock's 'Psycho', which was released shortly afterwards, 'Peeping Tom''s conflicted main character is not running a motel, but is a photographer. The film is not well known because it was withdrawn from distribution shortly after its release, due to the controversy it created. Subsequent releases were heavily censored. Recently restored versions reveal a very well crafted movie. Its photography-related content is handled accurately. If not my favourite photography movie, it's certainly the most memorable one. On IMDB:

I know not really a movie but...

Brady Bunch Season #3 Episode #11.."Click" November 26, 1971

"Greg becomes a member of the Westdale High School football team. Mike supports the idea, but Carol fears Greg will get hurt. Greg is indeed injured in a scrimmage so he turns to photography. Greg realizes his importance when he snaps a photo of a bad call on the field. Bobby is taking up photography in the subplot."

Greg took a picture of his cheerleader girlfriend and when they blew it up, in the background you could see that the receiver make the catch in bounds.
Not really sure if thats the reason I shoot sports or not. But that episode has been ingrained in my psyche forever...

Anyone seen the doco "The mexican suitcase" dying to get an english subtitled release. It's about lost photos from the spanish civil war, by Capa, Chim Seymour and Gerda Taro. Looks brilliant!

Here's the trailer.

Well I think most movies were called out already. At least the ones I knew. I got one more though.
Japanese movie called 'Collage of my life'.
I loved the film with all the photos that were in it.

How could you forget "Yes Man"?

What about Triage(2009)? starring Colin Farrell, is about 2 best friends, photo journalists going from war to war.

"One Hour Photo-
This is a dark thriller, starring Robin Williams as a one-hour photo
clerk at a Walmart who stalks a family whose rolls of film he regularly

Did you even watch any of these movies before making this article? I think not as it shows. Robin Williams didn't work at Wal-Mart photo lab. Not a big deal but kind of hard to recommend something you haven't even seen yourself... let alone rank it.

Great list! "War photographer" and "The Bang Bang" is great too!
But "Palermo Shooting" must be in the list, maybe in first place

I freakin' love this post! Just saw a couple of great movies I didn't know existed. Thumbs up on "Everlasting Moments" and the f^(#!$& Bang Bang Club.

How about The Eyes of Laura Mars?

Even in 'The Lovely Bones' the main character wanted to grow up and be a photographer.

No Eyes of Laura Mars? Great movie with Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones

Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Fred Astaire character was loosely based on Richard Avedon who designed the opening sequence and worked on the film as a consultant.

yeah right, where is bang-bang club? why not in the list? come on

Shutter (thailand version is better)

Nobody saw Triage? Starring Colin Farrell. Awesome movie!

Afghan luke?

Closer is the only movie i have seen on the photography movies featured here. I'm going to check the rest of the movies this weekend. Hopefully, i learn some great stuff in those movies. Professional photographer wannabe here.


Japanese Title: "Tada, Kimi wo Aishteru" (Just Loving You) | International English Title: "Heavenly Forest". Beautiful Movie. I'll give out no spoilers.

Nice collection! I would add for sure: Wasteland from Vic Muniz! Had a great impact on me!

Restrepo, Shooting Robert King, Rock Prophecies, The Devil came on Horseback?

The hardest part finding a way to download such movies in a decent resolution! But I've gotta say that what I've watched till now is worth searching!

The photographer in "Blowup" was played by David HEMMINGS, not 'David Dennings'

I just watched the Documentary "Brief Encounters" it follows Gregory Crewdson and looks into the creative process behind his images. This film was amazing!! The film gives each of his images so much more meaning, showing how there is not one single detail that has not been meticulously thought out. Incredible. Must watch. It is currently on Netflix in the US.

I enjoyed Triage with Colin Farrel quite a bit.

It's about being a conflict photographer and having a hard time coming home.

nise list...thanks
films for photographers... my list: