Capturing humanistic imagery for filmgoers
John Bailey ’64
Cinematographer John Bailey has created engaging imagery across four decades and all genres, from drama with “Ordinary People” and “The Big Chill” to comedy with “Groundhog Day” and “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
A key theme in John’s work is humanism. “I have always been attracted to films that engage the dilemmas that face us as we live,” he says. “I try to find projects that straddle the edge between entertainment and humanistic enlightenment about why we are here and what are our responsibilities in the larger human community.” Not coincidentally, John’s philosophy stems from his Loyola experience. “The education I got from the Jesuits has so informed the way I work and think, and the discipline I have in life.”
That discipline drove John to create a laudable filmography of 70-plus movies. Even a specialized Panavision lens is nicknamed the “Bailey zoom” after him. Over time, John has embraced sweeping changes in filmmaking technology. He started out using B&W 16mm film; now he shoots digital.
Regardless of media, John believes images should tie to a message. “I look forward to using the current visual-effects technology to serve not car crashes, explosions and fireballs, but to create stronger devices to tell dramatic, humanistic stories.”