Definition of documentarian in US English:



  • 1A photographer specializing in producing a factual record.

    • ‘The catalogue refers to the photographers as documentarists (an older word might be photojournalists).’
    • ‘Made by the veteran photographer and documentarian, the series will recollect Taiwanese society over eight episodes.’
    • ‘The nature of the event will make it possible for ordinary citizens to act as documentarians, spot-news photographers, and paparazzi.’
    • ‘The most interesting discovery though may have been the fact that some of the photographers of the 19th century surveys had not solely been documentarians.’
    • ‘He focused on her Depression-era photographs and early work for the magazine, viewing Mieth as a precursor to later social documentarians.’
    • ‘Like his fellow wartime documentarists, he made a successful transition into feature film-making.’
    • ‘The historian presented a slide show outlining the work of the commercial photographer William Rau, who was the official documentarian of the Pennsylvania railroad from 1889-1893.’
    1. 1.1 A director or producer of documentaries.
      • ‘His two best friends are said to be former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Leni Riefenstahl, the documentarist who made propaganda films of Hitler.’
      • ‘The young documentarist joined up with the film crew eight weeks prior to the start of shooting and from then witnessed chronic problems - language barriers between the crew, flighty actors and a storm which shut everything down.’
      • ‘When will documentarians learn that much of this material can stand on its own, without an alternately plucky and maudlin background score, telling us what to feel?’
      • ‘Despite its dominance of the genre, the social problem documentary does not seem to satisfy many contemporary documentarists.’
      • ‘The point is supposed to be about how documentarians exploit and manipulate their subjects in order to make entertainment for the masses.’
      • ‘Both of these documentarians are modern artists who capture the truth and then ‘spin’ it, making it conform to and with their overriding cinematic thesis.’
      • ‘Do you think film-makers, apart from documentarians, have responded on a political level as strongly as they could?’
      • ‘Many documentarians hide behind their cameras, editing out any trace of themselves from their finished product.’
      • ‘What distinguished his films from those of other documentarians was the blending of artful narrative with scientifically grounded ethnography.’
      • ‘But certainly when the camera's on it changes the situation and a filmmaker's presence alters the reality that the documentarians are reflecting.’
      • ‘If only the policy makers could extend that view to documentarians and others who film the world and include in their film the physical fact of other videos being displayed in the world.’
      • ‘These are the moment documentarians die for… a truly great and important story that hasn't been documented before.’
      • ‘The documentarians who were at the awards show are all fine film-makers, but also good, really hard working people.’
      • ‘The worst case of the visible documentarian is where the filmmaker keeps popping up when the film is supposed to be about something else.’
      • ‘Not too many documentarians adjust their style of film-making to the subject.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, they manage to suggest the emotional breadth of the documentary and give us a glimpse into what compels documentarians and their fans.’
      • ‘The film-makers, like so many contemporary documentarians, mistake passivity for ‘objectivity.’’
      • ‘More independent documentarians than ever are turning to low-budget digital video, and the result can be a visual disaster when transferred to film for festivals.’
      • ‘Many other independent documentarians worked in Sarajevo as well, making remarkable films about the city's ordeal.’
      • ‘Please, documentarians of the world, stay behind the camera and let your subjects do the talking.’
  • 2An expert analyst of historical documents.

    • ‘In his three-year quest to recover the lost Jewish gravestones of Shanghai, he has worn many hats: archaeologist, documentarian, detective, historian.’
    • ‘Less than 5 percent of the Smithsonian's vast collection is on display at any given time, but its artifacts are loaned out to other museums and used by researchers, illustrators, educators, and documentarians.’