Greatest Cinematographers

by Paul Hamell | created - 17 Feb 2011 | updated - 16 Mar 2016 | Public

☄ - Acclaimed work

1. Roger Deakins

Cinematographer | Skyfall

Roger Deakins is an English cinematographer best known for his work on the films of the Coen brothers, Sam Mendes, and Denis Villeneuve.

He is a member of both the American and British Society of Cinematographers, and received thirteen nominations for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

...

Greats: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)☄; Fargo (1996)☄; No Country for Old Men (2007)☄

Give It a Shot: Kundan (1997)☄; O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2001)☄; The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)☄; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)☄; The Reader (2008)☄; True Grit (2010)☄

Other Notable Film(s):

2. Conrad L. Hall

Cinematographer | Road to Perdition

Born in Tahiti, the son of writer James Norman Hall, author of "Mutiny on the Bounty," Conrad Hall studied filmmaking at USC. He and two classmates formed a production company and sold a project to a local television station. Hall's company branched out into making industrial films and TV ...

Greats: In Cold Blood (1967)☄; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)☄; American Beauty (1999)☄; Road to Perdition (2002)☄

Caution: A Civil Action (1998)☄

Other Notable Film(s): Morituri (1965)☄; The Professional (1966)☄; The Day of the Locust (1975)☄; Tequila Sunrise (1988)☄; Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)☄

3. Wally Pfister

Cinematographer | Inception

Wally Pfister is an American cinematographer and film director, who is best known for his work with Christopher Nolan. He is also known for his work on director F. Gary Gray's The Italian Job (2003) and Bennett Miller's Moneyball (2011).

He made his directorial debut with the film Transcendence (...

Greats: Memento (2000); Insomnia (2002); The Prestige (2006); The Dark Knight (2008)☄; Moneyball (2011)☄

Give It a Shot: Batman Begins (2005)☄; Inception (2010)☄; The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Other Notable Film(s):

4. Gordon Willis

Cinematographer | Zelig

Gordon Willis was an American cinematographer. He is best known for his work on Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather series as well as Woody Allen's Annie Hall (1977) and Manhattan (1979).

His work in the first two Godfather films turned out to be groundbreaking in its use of low-light photography ...

Greats: The Godfather (1972); The Godfather: Part II (1974); All the President's Men (1976); Annie Hall (1977); Manhattan (1979); The Godfather: Part III (1990)☄

Other Notable Film(s): Pennies from Heaven (1981); Zelig (1983)☄

5. Robert Elswit

Cinematographer | There Will Be Blood

Robert Elswit is an American cinematographer. He is best known for Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999), Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), There Will Be Blood (2007), Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011), Inherent Vice (2014), and Nightcrawler (2014).

Elswit frequently works with director ...

Greats: Magnolia (1999); There Will Be Blood (2007)☄

Give It a Shot: Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)☄

Other Notable Film(s):

6. Robert Richardson

Cinematographer | Inglourious Basterds

Robert Richardson an American cinematographer. He is best known for work with Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and Oliver Stone.

He has won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography three times, for his work on JFK (1991), The Aviator (2004), and Hugo (2011). He is one of three living persons who...

Greats: Platoon (1986)☄; Born on the Fourth of July (1989)☄; JFK (1991)☄; The Aviator (2004)☄; Inglourious Basterds (2009)☄; Hugo (2011)☄

Other Notable Film(s): Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)☄

7. John Toll

Cinematographer | The Thin Red Line

John Toll is an American cinematographer. His filmography spans a wide variety of genres, including epic period drama, comedy, science fiction, and contemporary drama. He won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in both 1994 and 1995 for Legends of the Fall and Braveheart respectively.

He has ...

8. Vittorio Storaro

Cinematographer | Apocalypse Now

Vittorio Storaro, the award-winning cinematographer who won Oscars for "Apocalypse Now (1979)", "Reds (1981)" and "The Last Emperor (1987)". He was born on June 24, 1940 in Rome, where his father was a projectionist at the Lux Film Studio. At the age of 11, he began studying photography at a ...

9. Gregg Toland

Cinematographer | Citizen Kane

Born in Illinois in 1904, the only child of Jennie and Frank Toland, Gregg and his mother moved to California several years after his parents divorced in 1910. Through Jennie's work as a housekeeper for several people in the movie business, Gregg may had gotten a $12-a-week job at age 15 as an ...

10. Robert Surtees

Cinematographer | Ben-Hur

Robert L. Surtees began his working life as a portrait photographer and retoucher, before becoming camera assistant at Universal in 1927. He spent a lengthy apprenticeship (15 years) working under such experienced cinematographers as Hal Mohr, Joseph Ruttenberg and Gregg Toland. Between 1929 and ...

11. Leon Shamroy

Cinematographer | Leave Her to Heaven

Leon Shamroy was born on July 16, 1901 in New York City, New York, USA as Leonard Tolstoy Shamroy. He is known for his work on Leave Her to Heaven (1945), The Black Swan (1942) and Planet of the Apes (1968). He was married to Mary Anderson, Audrey Mason and Rosamund Marcus. He died on July 7, 1974 ...

12. Joseph Ruttenberg

Cinematographer | Gigi

Four-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1893, at the age of four, his family moved to the United States, eventually settling in Boston. After schooling, he got his first job in 1907 working as a newsboy and personal runner for William ...

13. Charles Lang

Cinematographer | Sabrina

One of the outstanding cinematographers of Hollywood's Golden Age, Lang spent most of his career at Paramount (1929-1952), where he contributed to the studio's well-earned reputation for visual style. Lang was educated at Lincoln High School in L.A., then proceeded to the University of Southern ...

14. George J. Folsey

Cinematographer | Forbidden Planet

Pioneer cinematographer George Folsey started out in 1914 as an errand boy with the Lasky Feature Play Company in New York. His introduction to camerawork came, when he was asked by cinematographer H. Lyman Broening to assist with post-production (tracking dissolve and fades for intercutting). By ...

15. Jordan Cronenweth

Cinematographer | Blade Runner

Jordan Cronenweth was born on February 20, 1935 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Jordan Scott Cronenweth. He is known for his work on Blade Runner (1982), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) and Altered States (1980). He died on November 29, 1996 in Los Angeles.

16. Jeff Cronenweth

Cinematographer | Gone Girl

Jeff Cronenweth was born on January 14, 1962 in Los Angeles County, California, USA as Jeffrey Scott Cronenweth. He is known for his work on Gone Girl (2014), The Social Network (2010) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).

18. Michael Ballhaus

Cinematographer | Goodfellas

Michael Ballhaus was a German cinematographer. He worked on many American films, including Baby It's You (1983), Old Enough (1984), After Hours (1985), The Color of Money (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Dracula (1992), The Age of Innocence (1993), Gangs of New York ...

19. Sven Nykvist

Cinematographer | The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Sven Nykvist was considered by many in the industry to be one of the world's greatest cinematographers. During his long career that spanned almost half a century, Nyvist perfected the art of cinematography to its most simple attributes, and he helped give the films he had worked on the simplest and...

20. Jack Cardiff

Director | Sons and Lovers

Almost universally considered one of the greatest cinematographers of all time, Jack Cardiff was also a notable director. He described his childhood as very happy and his parents as quite loving. They performed in music hall as comedians, so he grew up with the fun that came with their theatrical ...

21. Robert D. Yeoman

Cinematographer | The Grand Budapest Hotel

Robert D. Yeoman was born on March 10, 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Robert David Yeoman. He is known for his work on The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and Drugstore Cowboy (1989).

22. Emmanuel Lubezki

Cinematographer | Children of Men

Lubezki began his career in Mexican film and television productions in the late 1980s. His first international production was the 1993 independent film Twenty Bucks (1993), which followed the journey of a single twenty-dollar bill.

Lubezki is a frequent collaborator with fellow Mexican filmmaker ...

Children of Men (2006)

23. Guillaume Schiffman

Cinematographer | The Artist

Guillaume Schiffman is known for his work on The Artist (2011), OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006) and Populaire (2012).

24. Janusz Kaminski

Cinematographer | Minority Report

Janusz Kaminski is a Polish cinematographer and film director. He has established a partnership with Steven Spielberg, working as a cinematographer on his movies since 1993. He won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Schindler's List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).

His ...

25. Danny Cohen

Cinematographer | Les Misérables

Danny Cohen was born in London in 1963. He took a social sciences degree at Sheffield Polytechnic and had a long time interest in photography, particularly stills work. He became a photographic technician at Middlesex Polytechnic and then a camera assistant on documentaries, commercials and films ...

26. Matthew Libatique

Cinematographer | Black Swan

Matthew Libatique was born on July 19, 1968 in Queens, New York City, New York, USA as Matthew J. Libatique. He is known for his work on Black Swan (2010), Requiem for a Dream (2000) and Pi (1998).

27. Mauro Fiore

Cinematographer | Avatar

Mauro Fiore was born on November 15, 1964 in Marzi, Calabria, Italy. He is known for his work on Avatar (2009), The Island (2005) and Armageddon (1998). He has been married to Christine Vollmer since 2000. They have three children.

28. Christian Berger

Cinematographer | Das weiße Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte

1973 founded own production company TTV Film. Extensive work as a documentary film-maker. 1977 building of experimental video studio. Work with and technical support for various young film-makers working under TTV Film. 1980/81 increasing work in TV plays, screen adaptations with various authors, ...

29. Bruno Delbonnel

Cinematographer | Un long dimanche de fiançailles

Bruno Delbonnel was born in 1957 in Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France. He is known for his work on A Very Long Engagement (2004), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) and Amélie (2001).

30. Barry Ackroyd

Cinematographer | The Hurt Locker

Barry Ackroyd was born on May 12, 1954 in Oldham, Lancashire, England. He is known for his work on The Hurt Locker (2008), Captain Phillips (2013) and United 93 (2006).

31. Anthony Dod Mantle

Cinematographer | Slumdog Millionaire

Anthony Dod Mantle was born on April 14, 1955 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. He is known for his work on Slumdog Millionaire (2008), 127 Hours (2010) and Antichrist (2009).

32. Tom Stern

Cinematographer | Changeling

Tom Stern was born on December 16, 1946 in Palo Alto, California, USA as Thomas Evans Stern. He is known for his work on Changeling (2008), Mystic River (2003) and Flags of our Fathers (2006). He was previously married to Françoise Combadière.

33. Claudio Miranda

Cinematographer | Life of Pi

Claudio Miranda was born in 1964 in Santiago, Chile. He is known for his work on Life of Pi (2012), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and Oblivion (2013).

34. Chris Menges

Cinematographer | The Killing Fields

Chris Menges was born on September 15, 1940 in Kington, Herefordshire, England as Christopher J. Menges. He is known for his work on The Killing Fields (1984), Michael Collins (1996) and The Mission (1986).

35. Seamus McGarvey

Cinematographer | Atonement

Seamus McGarvey BSC, born 29 June 1967 in Armagh, Northern Ireland, is an Irish cinematographer who began his career as a still photographer before attending film school at the University of Westminster in London. Upon graduating in 1988 he began shooting short films and documentaries, including ...

36. Guillermo Navarro

Cinematographer | El laberinto del fauno

Guillermo Navarro was born in 1955 in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico. He is a cinematographer and director, known for Pan's Labyrinth (2006), I Am Number Four (2011) and Pacific Rim (2013).

37. Vilmos Zsigmond

Cinematographer | Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Along with László Kovács, a fellow student who fled Hungary in 1956, Zsigmond rose to prominence in the 1970s. He is known for his use of natural light and vivid use of color on features such as The Long Goodbye (1973) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

38. Dick Pope

Cinematographer | The Illusionist

Dick Pope was born in 1947 in Bromley, Kent, England. He is known for his work on The Illusionist (2006), Secrets & Lies (1996) and Mr. Turner (2014).

39. Rodrigo Prieto

Cinematographer | Brokeback Mountain

Rodrigo Prieto is a Mexican cinematographer. He is best known for Brokeback Mountain (2005), Babel (2006), Argo (2012), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and Silence (2016).

He also worked with Alejandro González Iñárritu on the acclaimed Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), and Biutiful (2010).

...

40. Dion Beebe

Cinematographer | Collateral

Dion Beebe was born in 1968 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He is known for his work on Collateral (2004), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) and Nine (2009). He is married to Unjoo Moon. They have one child.

42. John Mathieson

Cinematographer | Gladiator

John Mathieson came up through the traditional camera ranks and worked as an assistant to Gabriel Beristáin for several years. Mathieson was first recognized for his work on the music video "Peek-A-Boo" by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

43. Caleb Deschanel

Cinematographer | The Passion of the Christ

Caleb Deschanel is an American film cinematographer and film/television director. He has been nominated for five Academy Awards, each time in the field of cinematography. The first nomination came in 1983 for the film The Right Stuff. His second was in 1984 for The Natural. A third came in 1996 for...

44. John Schwartzman

Cinematographer | Seabiscuit

Attended USC Film School.

45. Eduardo Serra

Cinematographer | Girl with a Pearl Earring

Eduardo Serra was born on October 2, 1943 in Lisbon, Portugal. He is known for his work on Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), Unbreakable (2000) and Blood Diamond (2006).

46. John Seale

Cinematographer | Mad Max: Fury Road

John Seale was born on October 5, 1942 in Warwick, Queensland, Australia as John Clement Seale. He is known for his work on Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), The English Patient (1996) and Witness (1985). He has been married to Louise Seale since September 23, 1967. They have two children.

47. César Charlone

Cinematographer | Blindness

César Charlone was born in 1958 in Montevideo, Uruguay. He is a cinematographer and director, known for Blindness (2008), The Constant Gardener (2005) and El baño del Papa (2007).

48. Russell Boyd

Cinematographer | Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Russell Boyd was born on April 21, 1944 in Victoria, Australia. He is known for his work on Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and Gallipoli (1981).

49. Pawel Edelman

Cinematographer | The Pianist

Pawel Edelman was born on June 26, 1958 in Lódz, Lódzkie, Poland. He is known for his work on The Pianist (2002), Oliver Twist (2005) and The Ghost Writer (2010).

50. Edward Lachman

Cinematographer | Carol

Edward Lachman was born on March 31, 1948 in Morristown, New Jersey, USA. He is known for his work on Carol (2015), Far from Heaven (2002) and Ken Park (2002).

51. Donald McAlpine

Cinematographer | Moulin Rouge!

Donald McAlpine was born in 1934 in Quandialla, New South Wales, Australia as Donald Milton McAlpine. He is known for his work on Moulin Rouge! (2001), Romeo + Juliet (1996) and The Dressmaker (2015).

52. Slawomir Idziak

Cinematographer | Trois couleurs: Bleu

Slawomir Idziak was born on January 25, 1945 in Katowice, Slaskie, Poland. He is a cinematographer and writer, known for Three Colors: Blue (1993), Black Hawk Down (2001) and I Want You (1998). He was previously married to Maria Gladkowska.

53. Andrew Lesnie

Cinematographer | King Kong

Andrew Lesnie was born on January 1, 1956 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. He is known for his work on King Kong (2005), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). He died on April 27, 2015 in Sydney.

54. Lajos Koltai

Cinematographer | La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano

Lajos Koltai was born on April 2, 1946 in Budapest, Hungary. He is a cinematographer and director, known for La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano (1998), Malèna (2000) and Fateless (2005). He has been married to Katalin Bordas since 1969.

55. Peter Pau

Cinematographer | Wo hu cang long

Pau has been one of the top cinematographers in Hong Kong. After his graduation of Filmmaking at San Francisco Art Institute in 1983, he directed his first feature "The Temptation of Dance" and Wu du qing chou (aka Misty) in the 1990s. Pau has been working with the top directors such as John Woo (_...

56. Roger Pratt

Cinematographer | Twelve Monkeys

Roger Pratt was born on February 27, 1947 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England. He is known for his work on Twelve Monkeys (1995), Chocolat (2000) and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994).

57. Dante Spinotti

Cinematographer | L.A. Confidential

Dante Spinotti was born in Tolmezzo, Udine, in the northeastern Italian Region of Friuli. He began his career at RAI (Italian TV), before that he spent lot of time in Kenia as cinematographer for his uncle. In 1985, producer Dino De Laurentiis offered him a chance to work in USA for the first time ...

58. Remi Adefarasin

Cinematographer | Band of Brothers

Remi Adefarasin was born in 1948 in London, England. He is known for his work on Band of Brothers (2001), Me Before You (2016) and Elizabeth (1998).

59. Richard Greatrex

Cinematographer | Shakespeare in Love

Richard Greatrex is known for his work on Shakespeare in Love (1998), A Knight's Tale (2001) and Chaos (2005).

60. Russell Carpenter

Cinematographer | Titanic

Russell Carpenter was born on December 9, 1950 in Van Nuys, California, USA as Russell Paul Carpenter. He is known for his work on Titanic (1997), Ant-Man (2015) and The Negotiator (1998).

61. Darius Khondji

Cinematographer | Amour

Darius Khondji was born on October 21, 1955 in Tehran, Iran. He is known for his work on Amour (2012), Se7en (1995) and Delicatessen (1991). He is married to Marianne Khondji. They have three children.

62. Hal Mohr

Cinematographer | Phantom of the Opera

Distinguished pioneering cinematographer, with a six-decade long career in motion pictures. As a teenager, Hal built his own camera while still at school and took photos of local interest which he then developed and printed. He sent a number of these pictures to the New York Herald-Tribune and they...

63. Joseph Ruttenberg

Cinematographer | Gigi

Four-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1893, at the age of four, his family moved to the United States, eventually settling in Boston. After schooling, he got his first job in 1907 working as a newsboy and personal runner for William ...