There is no doubt in my mind that the story should drive the visual, as a path guiding the pathfinder, but without those supreme moments of inspiration, time and circumstance, some of the greatest images in cinema would not have existed. The cinematographer's work is to draw connections from character to character, from object to emotion, from plot point to character or setting. The possibilities become infinite as those connections meld or juxtapose.
Photographic composition is a favorite subject of mine. I study natural patterns that are revealed in nature — order arising out of chaos — sometimes reflecting stillness, sometimes reflecting a wild, thunderous movement of the elements.
Movement Over Time
Motion, Time, Place and Story are the elements that most distinguish cinematic art from the other performing and visual arts. Our ability to deftly transform time, place and movement in service to story is a unique strength to modern cinematography and cinematic world-building.
Sometimes, less is more, however. Sometimes the audience needs to be able to savor a moment, to drink it in, to study the infinite face of the character in front of us, or the irony of the moment — whatever the feeling of the moment requires.