In a 2013 interview with Filmmaker magazine, Brent Renaud described facing violence for the sake of his work — repeatedly being attacked by thugs while reporting on a crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, for instance, and drawing fire from soldiers in Cambodia when the car he was riding in crashed through a military checkpoint.
“It is important when covering conflict to understand the politics and the players involved,” he said. “You have to know where it is relatively safe to be, and when.”
Mr. Renaud employed a spare approach that gave him mobility, flexibility and relatively unfiltered access to what he was filming. He often spent more than a year on a single subject. He tended not to work with a crew, to use distracting equipment — tripods, big lights — or to insert music or voice-overs into his movies.
“It’s about being so close you’re almost seeing things from the subject’s point of view,” he told the trade publication American Cinematographer in 2007. “We try to disappear.”
Brent Anthony Renaud was born on Oct. 13, 1971, in Memphis, and he grew up in Little Rock, Ark. His father, Louis, was a salesman, and his mother, Georgann Freasier, was a social worker.
In the late 1990s, he got a master’s degree from the Columbia University Teacher’s College. While in New York, he began working at the Downtown Community Television Center, an organization that produces documentaries and teaches filmmaking. Craig moved to the city to join him there. Working with its co-founder, Jon Alpert, launched their careers.
In addition to his brother, Brent is survived by his parents and a sister, Michele Purifoy. He lived in Little Rock and New York.