Capturing the untold
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
We are all storytellers, all of us have stories within us waiting to be told. Tales of love, regret, happiness and much more. I have always believed in the vulnerability of storytelling and to tell a story in its most authentic way is an art. You can have an amazing idea but if you do not know how to translate it well, half its magic is already lost. I help add that magic to your narrative.
From the heart to the camera
They say a good story comes straight from your heart – I have taken this phrase an extra mile because I shoot from the heart, literally.
We see with our eyes, but we experience through our heart. On set you will hear me call to the operator to ‘settle in at heart level.’ This POV is slightly below the character’s eye line – or even way below the schooled ‘above the eyes for beauty’ rule. Seeing from here pulls the viewer in at the vital cavity – breath and heart. A place in which vulnerable moments rebound off, breath quickens, hearts race, and from this bodily-weighted intelligence we react. From this place I connect into an actor’s emotional space and project the performance in the most human way possible.
When you are able to expose the true, raw emotions of a scene, you invite the viewer to feel just like the character in that moment. That’s why I believe in doing more than just shaping a film’s aesthetic – I believe in interpreting storylines into emotional scripts & eventually blending this emotional script with performance.
I shape storylines and translate emotions into an external, visual space.
I am instinctively drawn to stories that uncover the intricacies and brittleness of human existence. If you believe in your story and are willing to take that risk, come take it with me, and if we, like our characters, trip along the way on this journey, we will trip and rise together.
There’s more to Cinematography than dollies & lenses. It’s getting everybody together and inspiring them to create art while capturing moments that resonate with people’s reality.
Multi-camera shooting allows the actors to be spontaneous on set and give you the means to shoot the live back and forth between them. It also gives the actors the space and flexibility to flow through their emotions seamlessly, while giving a DOP the ability to switch between perspectives.
As a cinematographer, I feel that we need to understand the emotional arc of a scene and establish a visual language for it. Once we have that set and in place, we will automatically hold the camera in the right spot. Before shooting a scene I make sure i understand the emotional journey of each character in the scene; taking this piece of information, i apply the visual language and structure the scene.
Car work is another visual space in which the viewer can experience the character in 3D. I believe that the camera angles and natural light also play an important role in this process as it helps you define the vibe of the scene. Moreover, it is to understand how you want the viewer to experience the scene. Every angle plays a crucial role in deciding where our viewer will be in the scene.
The actor, the camera and the light are critically linked. You put these three forces in a designed set or in a designed space and a vortex of emotions can explode. When I say that I'm an actor's DP, I am holding space for performance. All decisions come from the emotional script of the scene which is breathed into existence by the actor which I receive, hold and expose to the audience.
A timeline of everything that happened
- June 21, 1998
"Borrowed" my dad's Canon AE-1 Program 35mm film camera.
My dad was concerned that I was wasting a lot of film, after rolls of my sports photogtaphy came out blurry or unerexposed. However, my mother supported the lost frames by ensuring us that it is a learning process and indeed it was.
- June 21, 2001
Elected President of my High School Band
Band Geek for life - Who else was a band geek in high school? : Lil Wayne, steven spielberg, halle berry, tina fey, kesha.
- June 21, 2005
Graduated college in a town that prints its own money
The idea of living my life my way was inspired from this unique town that created its own currency that operated parallel to the nation's currency. This was a way for them to sustain the local economy and culture. This encouraged me to find ‘my way’ amidst the ‘mass produced way’.
- July 7, 2006
Worked as a film negative assembler
Assembled edit for the shows - 'Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill. Holding the shots in my hands, cutting frames and joint rolls. I completed the whole process by hand.
- October 15, 2008
BET spotlight winner – Spent
Spent won the BET spotlight.
- January 23, 2010
Traveled to over 30 countries with Band Without Borders.
Travelled to countries across the globe with an all male rock band. I shared stories and created memories in this journey.
- June 15, 2015
SXSW (Official Selection) LOEV
LOEV became the official selection for the SXSW film festival that celebrates raw innovation and emerging talent from both behind and in front of the camera.
- December 15, 2015
Frameline IFF (Audience winner) – LOEV
Frameline's mission is to change the world through the power of queer cinema. LOEV, a story about a weekend trip between friends that made them question what love is and what it means to them; won the audience award.
- February 15, 2019
Emmy winner – The inspectors S3
The show endeavors to educate young people about making good choices and the importance of communicating with parents and includes a positive message about living with a disability.
- December 15, 2019
Emmy nomination – Insecure (CAMERA OPERATOR)
Best friends Issa and Molly belong to the same social background and face similar experiences bagged them an emmy nomination. They always strive to find solutions to their problems by facing them together.
- December 15, 2020
Emmy nomination – The inspectors S4
Set in Washington, D.C., "The Inspectors" is inspired by real cases handled by the United States Postal Inspection Service. Season 4 of the show was nominated for Emmy in the year 2020.
"I was lucky enough to work with Sherri for two back-to-back seasons. She was an incredible DP and directed as well. Sherri always had a smile on her face and was one of my favorite people to hang out with on set. I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to work with her and I'm honored to call her my friend."
"Facing the daunting task of shooting two back-to-back seasons in less than six months, I needed a DP who’d be both a fearless co-captain and unrelenting artist. I found both in Sherri. She is unflappable, yet visionary. A master technician and shaper of light who knows exactly how to balance the art with the realities of budget and schedule. Her infinite energy and optimism elevates every department. I’m proud to call her a colleague, and grateful to call her a friend."
"I was looking for a Cinematographer who would honor my vision while bringing fresh ideas to the table in a collaborative way. Sherri exceeded my expectations. From pre-production planning, adapting to budget constraints, bringing in a talented, hard working crew, and gorgeous shots, I couldn't have asked for a better partner. If you have the opportunity to hire Sherri, DO IT!"
"This is the 3rd time I’ve worked with Sherri. She’s an incredible human and an artist. As a new director, I was looking for someone to support my vision and Sherri was the best choice. The creative collab I had with her has been the high point in my life."