Photography is an exciting field, and photographers come from all backgrounds. The need to pick up a camera and document the world is a unique calling. Audiences love to see photographers on the big and little screens. Here is a list of fictional photographers from great movies that give us a taste of photographers’ fascinating lifestyles and perspectives.
Rear Window (1954)
Jimmy Stewart’s character is the quintessential fictional photographer in this Alfred Hitchcock classic. Jimmy plays a professional photographer that is stuck at home due to an injury. He decides to point his camera out the window from his New York City apartment. He captures more than he bargained for and crime and chaos ensue.
Anna – Closer (2004)
Julia Roberts plays Anna, a portrait photographer in this film. After doing a photo shoot for an author’s new book, she finds herself wrapped up in a love triangle with Jude Law, Clive Owen, and Natalie Portman. Natalie Portman steals the show in the scene where Julia does an impromptu shoot with her. Julia’s character shows that the lens can capture emotions that words can’t.
Sean O’Connell – Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013)
Sean Penn embodies the adventurous spirit as a Time photographer in this beautiful film. He is an elusive world-traveling photographer that anyone who loves National Geographic and daydreams about traveling the world will identify with. His dedication to getting the best shot and the lengths he goes to get them is a theme throughout the film. Sean Penn is the perfect choice for this charismatic character.
Oliver Stone made this film early in his career, and it remains one of his best. The story follows a war photographer who is covering the Salvadorian Civil War. The story focuses on helping a family escape the war. James Woods gives an outstanding performance letting the audience into the mind of a war correspondent and what drives them.
Triage follows the story of an Irish photojournalist after he returns from a troubling and dangerous assignment in Kurdistan. The film focuses more on the after-effects of documenting violence than the violence itself. The film is based on the novel by Scott Anderson, a real-life war correspondent.
A Thousand Times Good Night (2013)
The film is about a female photojournalist who is obsessed with covering war-torn and dangerous places. Juliett Binoche plays the main character. The story follows her life as she tries to balance leading a normal family life with her drive to cover conflict worldwide.
Pecker is a fun film that explores what art is and how its interpreted. The main character is played by Edward Furlong. He is a regular guy that pursues his interest in photography. One day his out of focus photographs are discovered. The film follows his journey through the pretentious art world in the New York art scene. It’s a fun look at what makes art and who interprets what’s good or bad art.
City of God (2002)
This brilliant film captures the rawness of the Brazilian slums. It’s part thriller and part coming of age story about two friends who take very different paths. One is pulled into a life of crime and gangs, and the other is struggling to become a photographer. The film is gritty, dark, and beautiful.
Carol follows the story of an affair between a wealthy woman, played by Cate Blanchett, and a young shop girl, played by Rooney Mara. Rooney’s character is an aspiring photographer that understands the complexities of the human condition. It’s a thought-provoking film about two very different women who try and have a relationship at a time when that was difficult to do.
Jonathan Byers – Stranger Things (2016-2021)
In this cult favorite TV show, Charlie Heaton plays Jonathan Byers an amateur photographer whose behavior is often misunderstood. In the end, his photography skills help move the plot forward and play an important role.
The Dark Side
One Hour Photo (2002)
To be fair, the main character is a photo technician that later turns photographer. He works in a photo lab which used to be the only place to develop photos. Robin Williams plays Seymor, a man who takes to photographing women in a stalkerish peeping Tom style. The film is creepy but watching Robin Williams play such a darkly disturbing character is worth it.
The film has an unusual and unique premise. The main character, played by guy Pearce can not remember anything, so he takes to tattooing information on his body or photographing things with a polaroid instant camera. It’s a creative take on the power of a photo lens to capture important details.
That concludes our roundup of fictional photographers! Who did we miss?