AFTER EARTH: A Photographer’s Perspective


I was privileged to see the movie “After Earth” at Silverbird Cinemas courtesy of my boss. Though I am not a fan of science fiction, I enjoyed the challenge of having to “analyze” the movie and see it not just for its entertainment value, but to see it through the eyes of a photographer. I went with my colleagues and we had one major assignment; to do a write-up on what we learnt from the movie as photographers. Highlighted below are the lessons I learnt.

Life Lessons
• Fear isn’t real; it is only a product of our imagination. Even where danger exists, fear only has as much power and influence as we give it over ourselves.
• When fear is given a chance in our lives, it paralyzes us and causes us to make irrational decisions that may put us in danger and then cause more fear. More like a vicious cycle.
• From time to time, we need to step out of our comfort zone not just to achieve greatness but to avoid living a life of mediocrity bound by fear.
• Experiences from our childhood can either help us be better people but it can also hold us back from living a full life as adults if we do not break-free of beliefs that hold us back or based on any truth. We sometimes need to launch out rather than playing it safe especially as artists.
• Things are not always what they seem. There are always exceptions to what people generally believe. The character played by Will Smith, (I think his name was General Cypher), told his son (Kitai) that everything on earth is inclined towards killing humans but Kitai “found favor” with a large bird who rescued him and kept him warm on a certain night when earth froze up.

Photography Lessons
Apart from the life lessons that I learnt from the movie, I also had moments where I could see certain scenes differently due to my photography background.
Layers: Understanding the concept of layers in photo shop was one that took me quite a while during photo shop class but it immediately came to mind when I saw the virtual screens that the General flipped through to see his son’s location per time. The screens weren’t all images of the same location but to me it looked like slices of f a block and I believe, helped me understand layers more.
Getting/Thinking Out Of The Box : Kata had to get out of the box of safety that he was in and do things he never thought he was capable of doing instead of complying with the “rules”. This is an important lesson as an artist, to step out of the norm, break the rules, do the unfamiliar in order to advance in one’s career
• The movie also had interesting composition in some scenes and use of light.

by Ronke Alao
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