(via No Film School – V Renée)
A cinematographer expresses his or her vision, and/or that of the director, through the art of composition — the selection and arrangement of elements.
This video essay by Press Play not only compares the arrangement of early and contemporary films, but explains the fundamentals of what makes up a composition as well.
In its early years, cinema was essentially as its etymology described it: written movement. The writing, done by exposing light onto celluloid film, and the movement, an illusion called the phi phenomenon, are the most basic components of cinematography, but as filmmakers furthered the art form, films became less focused on simply capturing moments as they unfolded before them (a train pulling into a station, workers leaving a factory), and more so on creating moments by using cinematography to tell stories visually.