Movies about Photography

I haven’t seen most of these, so feel free to add any reviews to the comments.
Thanks! – James Pomerantz


1: War Photographer(James Nachtwey)

2: An American Journey: In Robert Frank’s Footsteps

3: The Photographers Series: Debbie Fleming Caffery

4: Manufactured Landscapes (US Edition) (Edward Burtynsky)

5: Berenice Abbott: A View of the 20th Century

6: Tierney Gearon: The Mother Project

7: The Decisive Moment (Henri Cartier-Bresson)

8: Pictures from a Revolution (Susan Meiselas)

9: Helmut Newton: Frames from the Edge

10: Toward the Margin of Life (Cornell Capa)

11: Born into Brothels (Children in India)

12: The Adventure of Photography (Various)

13: Ralph Gibson: Photographer/ Book Artist

14: Aaron Siskind

15: What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann

16: American Masters – Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light

17:Masters of Photography – Diane Arbus

18: Strand: Under the Dark Cloth (Paul Strand)

19: Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye

20: Photographer: Alfred Eisenstaedt

21: Masters of Photography – André Kertesz

22: W. Eugene Smith: Photography Made Difficult

23: Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens

24: Masters of Photography – Edward Steichen

25: Contacts, Vol. 1: The Great Tradition of Photojournalism (Various)

26: Contacts, Vol. 2: The Renewal of Contemporary Photography (Various)

27: Contacts, Vol. 3: Conceptual Photography (Various)

28: American Masters – Alfred Stieglitz: The Eloquent Eye

29: John Szarkowski: A Life in Photography

30: William Eggleston In the Real World

31: Peter Beard: Scrapbooks From Africa & Beyond

32: American Photography (Various)

33: Half Past Autumn – The Life and Works of Gordon Parks

34: National Geographic’s The Photographers(Various)

35: Ansel Adams – A Documentary Film

36: Shooting Robert King

37: The Genius of Photography

A Few Movies with Varying Levels of Connectivity to Photography:

1: Salvador (Special Edition)

2: Rear Window

3: Under Fire

4: Proof

5: Apocalypse Now Redux

6: The Year of Living Dangerously

7: Blow Up

8: Gentlemen’s Relish

9: High Art

10: The Public Eye

11: City of God

12: Harrison’s Flowers

13: Pecker

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47 Responses to Movies about Photography

  1. Hind Mezaina says:

    You must add Bill Cunningham New York in your list. It’s soooooo good.

  2. V says:

    FUR- An imaginary portrait of Diane Arbus.

  3. Pim Milo says:

    October Sky (Joe Johnston, 1999), starring O. Winston Link

  4. Emily A. says:

    I just watched “Everlasting Moments” for the second time – it’s a wonderful Swedish film about a women in early 20th century Sweden who wins a camera in a raffle and how she struggles with balancing family life with her love for photography.

  5. Sarah says:

    I studied The Decisive Moment in art history class at HBU last semester. It was interesting, and I learned a lot. I’m not sure if I’d recommend it to anyone just for watching, but for learning purposes it’s pretty good.

    Arizona Art Gallery

  6. Sarah says:

    I studied The Decisive Moment in art history class at HBU last semester. It was interesting, and I learned a lot. I’m not sure if I’d recommend it to anyone just for watching, but for learning purposes it’s pretty good.


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  8. MonkeyPaw2u says:

    How can you leave out Midnight Meat Train based on Clive Barker’s short story. This is a fantastic horror movie focused on fine art photography with a little sense of photojournalism thrown in and the ending couldn’t be better.

  9. mari says:

    there was a wonderful and accurate passage on photography in Bloom Brother 2009

  10. Daniel68 says:

    I highly recommend “Heavenly Forrest” (Tada, kimi wo aishiteru) by Japanese director Takehiko Shinjo.

    It’s a bittersweet lovestory about two young students who are connected by their passion for photography, and photography plays a prominent role throughout the movie. The female lead character is played by Aoi Miyazaki, who is not just a very talented actress and the epitome of cuteness, but an avid photographer in real life as well.

    To learn more about Heavenly Forest, see the review by Calvin McMillin on

  11. Jin says:

    Oops, Stray Dog, rather.

  12. Jin says:

    Just saw this in the video store, but haven’t checked it out yet:

    Street Dog of Tokyo: Daido Moriyama

  13. Tina says:

    James, this is a great list. I think I mentioned “Photo Wallahs” before, a documentary by David and Judith MacDougall about photo studios and photography in Mussoorie.

  14. “A lost man” (un homme perdu) inspired by Antoine D’Agata’s life who was on the set of the film giving direction about his character.

    Also still about Antoine D’Agata:

    “Aka Ana”, D’Agata first movie:

    The cambodian Room:

  15. Bob O'Connor says:

    I don’t see this movie about Abelardo Morell on the list yet –

  16. Pete Brook says:

    Incredible late on these three, but …




  17. mike says:

    Manufactured Landscapes is brilliant!

  18. Paul Conrad says:

    “Dying to Tell The Story” about photojournalist Dan Eldon and how he was killed in Somalia.

    “Mountain Light” by Galen Rowell.

    “Moment of Impact: Stories of Pulitzer Prize Photographs.”

    “Sebastiao Salgado: Looking Back at You.”

    “W. Eugene Smith: Photography Made Difficult.”

    “The Public Eye,” Joe Pesci plays a Weegee inspired character in NYC during World War II.

  19. fuusti says:

    The Julia Roberts/Natalie Portman/Clive Owen/Jude Law film, CLOSER by Mike Nichols! it’s amazing 🙂

  20. Risa says:

    Another good movie related to photography is Cherry Crush directed by Nicholas DiBella. It’s a great, sexy movie!

  21. pdc says:

    I think Candice Bergen’s brilliant cameo as Margaret Bourke White in Sir Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi” does deserve a mention.

  22. Kelley says:

    Richard Avedon inspired Funny Face. And Road to Perdition has a Weegee-like character. More tangentially, there’s Roman Holiday and La Dolce Vita, whose celebrity photographer, Paparazzo, inspired the word “paparazzi.”

  23. Kent says:

    Spectre of Hope about Sebastião Salgado’s book Migrations is amazing and eye opening. It’s available on Google video.

  24. there is another Eggleston doc called WIlliam Eggleston:Photographer. Came out last year. Haven’t seen it.

    Arakimentari doc about Nobuyoshi Araki

    Line of Beauty and Grace: A Documentary about Jock Sturges


    The Nicole Kidman Diane Arbus flick Fur.

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  26. matjazz says:

    Uff… I just remembered one more… One hour photo… with Robin Williams!

  27. Page Level says:

    I watched William Eggleston in the Real World at Snag Films for free:

    I liked it just because I find Eggleston such a fascinating character.

  28. There are some beautiful movies/documentaries in this list, but John Waters’ “Pecker” is the only one that will make you laugh.

  29. Emon says:

    Great list. Perhaps Brian de Palma’s ‘Femme Fatale’ is a candidate?

  30. great additions. Thanks!


  31. Mick Cottin says:

    I’m a big fan of the 1986 academy award nominated documentary STREETWISE. Portrays the lives of the same children featured in Mary Ellen Mark’s book by the same title. Only available on video cassette tape!

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  33. Great list, btw. See also “Reporters”, by Raymond Depardon, covering the work of photojournalists from Gamma agency.

  34. Pete Brook says:

    We absolutely cannot forget STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE by Errol Morris.

    It is an essential examination of the role of the photographs in the Abu Ghraib scandal and consequent military tribunals, including interviews with the privates who took the digital photographs.

  35. Great to see a list of movies of photography!! Thank you!

    May I also suggest Memento Mori/Self Portrait about Roger Ballen ( – european DVD (region 2) I’m afraid, but good!

  36. Chad says:

    I’d like to toss a favorite of mine into the mix… Full Metal Jacket by Stanley Kubrick.

  37. Sydney says:

    I have watched 3 of these movies tonight. Thank you for the recommendations–

  38. blake says:

    Pretty Baby by Louis Malle and Delirious by Tom DiCillo are both good films about photographers. Everyone says Blow Up is a masterpiece but I thought it was crap.

  39. Thanks so much for the comments. City of God is great movie. Apocalypse Now and Rear Window too.


  40. matjazz says:

    Uff, you have to watch movies that I mentioned below! City of gods is one of the top 5 movies of all for me…

  41. Jameson says:

    Only seen a few of these, war photographer, manufactured landscapes are great. Don McCullin did all the prints for the movie Blow up.

  42. matjazz says:

    Memento (2000) – Fantastic movie!!!
    Shortbus (2006)- Erotic, great!
    Baba Yaga (1973) – Funny movie! 😉

    Have you watched all the listed movies…? City of gods, Rear window, Blow up, Apocaylipse now are fantastic!

  43. Dave says:

    Sorry, I meant Agnes Varda. getting my Art Stars mixed up early in the morning

  44. Dave says:

    “La Jetee” by Chris Marker, and “The Gleaners and I” by Agnes Martin would both be great choices. They fall under the second category, of being connected to Photography in a sideways manner

  45. James says:

    always been partial to Peeping Tom

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