Thursday, August 10, 2006


Ok, so this is no doubt going to be a massive post that is going to take me all day to write but I just have to get out of my system. This is mainly going to be my own research just to remind myself about who these guys are and what they did, but you're welcome to listen in. I definetly would have expected my brother to get around to doing this but I guess he's got better things to do!

After learning that my roomate is related to Christopher Doyle I started rewatching some of his movies, then doing some research, and on thing led to another and I ended up researching all of my favorite cinematographers. More on Doyle later.

So what the hell is a cinematographer? If you want to get into semantics, it means 'writing in the movement.' But their job, mainly, is to have control over the camera and lighting crews in a scene, and therefore have a lot of creative input into the final image. Though if you consider the fact that the art director is responsible for the mise en scene, the storyboard artist plans out the shots and what is actually happening, and the director is going to want to have a piece of the action, then it's no small wonder how films end up looking great. Here are some of the guys that managed to do this (in my little opinion)

Kazuo Miyagawa

What has he done?

I think his two most-notable films are Rashomon and Yojimbo with famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. If I am not mistaken, he was credited as being one of the first cinematographers to dare point a camera straight at the sun in the forest scenes in Rashomon (I believe it was a faux-pas back then).

Some images!

Darius Khondji

What has he worked on? Se7en, Delicatessen, and the City of Lost Children with directors David Fincher and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The photo on the left is him working with The Beach director Danny Boyle.

Check out this interview with the man himself.

Some photos!

Bruno Delbonnel

What has he worked on? Amélie and A Very Long Engagement with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. I believe his next work is on the upcoming screen adaptation of Life of Pi (also with - you guessed it - Jeunet).

Here's an interview, in cas you were interest. Mais c'est en francais. Desolé.

Just watch Amélie and you will understand.

Some more images:

Douglas Slocombe.

He worked on the Indiana Jones trilogy with Steven Spielberg (as well as Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

Need I say more than this?

Christopher Doyle

Chris has worked on almost all of Wong Kar-wai's films (such as Chungking Express and 2046), as well as the Asian blockbuster Infernal Affairs, Yimou Zhang's Hero, and more recently, M. Night Shymalan's Lady in the Water.

He's my roomate's dad's cousin. Freaky.

Gregg Toland.

He worked on a little movie called Citizen Kane. That's him with director Orson Welles. He and Orson pulled the floor out of the room so that they could get the low angle they wanted for this shot - I believe it's the part where Kane loses as governor and is talking with Jebediah.

Some photos (which I'm sure you've seen before)

Gianna de Venanzo

Gianni worked with Vittorio de Sica, Franscesco Rosi, Michalengo Antonioni, and Federico Fellini - most notable on 8 1/2.

Ok I'm pooched! I've left a lot of people out but this is a pretty good working list for now I'd think!

One addendum I found the blog The Criterion Contraption fairly useful in my hunt today - this guy is "going to watch every last DVD in the Criterion Collection."

Please feel free to contribute some of your own favorite cinematographers in the comments!

Now go watch some movies!


Mark Mayerson 3:38 PM  

Other cinematographers worth looking at:

Karl Freund - shot Lang's Metropolis

Joe August - Shot Ford's The Informer

Winton Hoch - Shot Ford's She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and The Searchers

James Wong Howe - Shot MacKendrick's Sweet Smell of Success and a string of great Warner Bros. pictures like The Strawberry Blonde, King's Row and Yankee Doodle Dandy

Jack Cardiff - Shot Powell and Pressberger's The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus and A Matter of Life and Death

Freddie Young - Shot Ford's Mogambo, Cukor's Bhowani Junction and Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago and Ryan's Daughter.

Reel Fanatic 3:50 PM  

Fascinating stuff .. if I had to pick one favorite, it would definitely be Khondji .. the work on "city of lost children" along is just incredible

Cookedart 3:55 PM  

Hey Mark - you're definetly right about Karl Freund! Fritz Lang's stuff screams German Expressionism.

I'll make sure to check out the rest of the list - From the looks of it I'll definetly like Freddie Young!

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

You boys forget the two greatest cinematographers of the late 20th century.
Vittorio Storraro: The Conformist, the 80's Coppola films.

And the Prince of Darkness, Gordon Willis: the Godfather trilogy, Annie Hall, Manhattan, The Parallax View, All The President's Men, etc.


Lettie Lo 11:46 PM  

Kazuo Miyagawa kinda look like u o__O

Benjamin De Schrijver 2:10 PM  

A thread about cinematographers without mentioning Roger Deakins, Janusz Kaminski or at the very least Conrad L. Hall? tsk tsk tsk ;-)

Cookedart 2:40 PM  

Anonymous - I wasn't really aware of Storraro - but I am of Gordon Willis. A decent name to add to memory for sure.

Lettie - No more than he looks like you!

Ben - I do not admit to omitting Roger Deakins - rather, I was going to make another post with a few more names if this one was succesful, and Roger would definetly be among them.

Mr. Kaminski seems to be getting quite the recognition! I do like the work he's done with Spielberg though.

Here are some more names and what they worked on:

John L. Russell
Orson Welles' Macbeth

Robert Burks
Rear Window
The Birds
North by Northwest

Robert Surtees
The Graduate
The Sting

Gilbert Taylor
A Hard Day's Night
Dr. Strangelove
Star Wars
Roman Polanski's Macbeth

John Alcott
The Shining
Clockwork Orange
Barry Lyndon

Giuseppe Rotunno
Federico Fellinis - Amarcord, Casanova, Satyricon,
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Roger Deakins
The Village
A Beautiful Mind
O brother where art thou?
The Big Lebowski
Shawshank Redemption

(Currently working on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)

Robert Richardson
Scorcese's The Aviator, Bringing out the Dead
Kill Bill 1 and 2
Oliver Stone's Heaven and earth, JFK, Natural Born Killers,

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