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Jessica Lange – Photographer To Come Into Focus In Upcoming Documentary From Cinergistik

EXCLUSIVE: Jessica Lange’s talent as an actor has been celebrated with two Oscars, three Emmys, a Tony, and numerous other awards. But it’s her gift in a different area of the arts – photography – that will be explored in an upcoming documentary.

Cinergistik has announced production on Jessica Lange: Something About the Light, to begin filming this summer in Mexico, New York City, and along U.S. Highway 61, the north-south highway that extends into Minnesota where Lange grew up.

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Benjamin Alfonsi is directing and will produce along with Ken Siman of Cinergistik. The documentary will invite viewers on “a deeply personal journey through the worlds Lange has captured with her Leica M6 camera during her more than twenty-year career in photography,” according to a release about the project. “Something About the Light will take a nuanced, highly original approach in translating Lange’s photographic oeuvre for the screen.”

Photo by Jessica Lange
Photo by Jessica Lange

Lange, whose photography has been collected in multiple books, including 50 Photographs, Highway 61, and Dérive, all published by powerHouse Books, will participate in the documentary.

“There’s a cinematic quality to Jessica’s photographic work, so taking these images into the film realm feels natural,” said Alfonsi, director of the 2023 documentary Whitney Houston in Focus. “I wasn’t interested in telling the stories behind the photos so much as delving into the themes they explore, the lives they reveal, and the feelings they compel. At the heart of the film is an emotionally powerful body of work. The common thread is the photographer herself, whose humanity is reflected in the evocative art she continues to create through her imagery.”

Photo by Jessica Lange
Photo by Jessica Lange

DoP Svetlana Cvetko, who shot the 2011 Oscar-winning documentary feature Inside Job, will serve as cinematographer on Something About the Light.

“It’s always a dream come true to be part of a project driven by visuals that have affected me in a very personal way,” Cvetko said in a statement. “It’s particularly important to me that we shine the spotlight on a woman who is not only an iconic acting luminary, but also an important artist behind the lens.”

Jessica Lange: Something About the Light is being produced by Cinergistik in association with powerHouse Cultural Entertainment, with powerHouse’s Daniel Power serving as executive producer along with fellow EPs Christian Alfonsi, Randy Gregory, and David Scott Smith.

Photo by Jessica Lange
Photo by Jessica Lange

“As a photography connoisseur and aficionado,” Power said, “I cannot wait to see something on the screen that brings the electrifying experience of a transcendent exhibition or revelatory photo book to life, and am absolutely lit to be a part of this groundbreaking endeavor.”

According to the Howard Greenberg Gallery, which has exhibited Lange’s work, “she began making photographs in the 1990s when her partner of 26 years, the late playwright and actor Sam Shepard gave her a Leica camera as a gift. She dedicated her book Highway 61 to Shepard.”

Lange’s photographs have been exhibited at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York and at museums and galleries in Moscow, Barcelona, Spain, and Portugal. She earned the George Eastman House Honors Award in 2009.

Photo by Jessica Lange
Photo by Jessica Lange

Lange has observed about photography, “It’s a great counterpoint to filmmaking, because it’s a private, solitary experience. It’s like writing or painting; it’s something you can do on your own. Acting is a co-dependent art form, and the actor is not in control. And filmmaking definitely informs the decision to photograph something. I’m drawn to situations with a dramatic feel to them as far as lighting or backdrop or people’s presence, the way someone stands.”

In a 2019 interview with Time magazine, Lange commented on the evolution of her approach to photography. “For a long time I tried to photograph in a way that I would be unobserved,” she said. “I always felt that as soon as the subject is aware that they’re being photographed, there’s a subtle change. But then in recent years, I’ve actually been in a situation where I’ve had to engage with the subject and the person in front of the camera. It was really revelatory in that I found that that exchange was wonderful.”

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