15 Favorite Cinematographers

by Robert-159 | created - 12 Mar 2011 | updated - 19 May 2014 | Public

1. 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 ...

2. 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 ...

3. Christopher Doyle

Cinematographer | Paranoid Park

Christopher Doyle was born on May 2, 1952 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. He is a cinematographer and actor, known for Paranoid Park (2007), Ying xiong (2002) and 2046 (2004).

4. 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).

5. 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 ...

6. Karl Freund

Cinematographer | Key Largo

Karl Freund, an innovative director of photography responsible for development of the three-camera system used to shoot television situation comedies, was born on January 16, 1890, in the Bohemian city of Koeniginhof, then part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire (now known as Dvur Kralove in the Czech...

7. Gilbert Taylor

Cinematographer | Star Wars

Gilbert Taylor was born on April 21, 1914 in Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire, England. He is known for his work on Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Flash Gordon (1980) and The Omen (1976). He was married to Dee Taylor. He died on August 23, 2013 in Newport, Isle of Wight, England.

Most moviegoers familiar with Gilbert Taylor probably think of him as the cinematographer for Star Wars, but when I think of him, I think of Dr. Strangelove, A Hard Day’s Night, Repulsion, Macbeth, and Frenzy.

8. Raoul Coutard

Director | Hoa-Binh

Raoul Coutard was born on September 16, 1924 in Paris, France. He was a cinematographer and director, known for Hoa Binh (1970), First Name: Carmen (1983) and Jules and Jim (1962). He died on November 8, 2016 in Labenne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France.

9. 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...

10. James Wong Howe

Cinematographer | The Rose Tattoo

Master cinematographer James Wong Howe, whose career stretched from silent pictures through the mid-'70s, was born Wong Tung Jim in Canton (now Guangzhou), China, on August 28, 1899, the son of Wong How. His father emigrated to America the year James was born, settling in Pasco, Washington, where ...

11. Yuri Ilyenko

Director | Bilyy ptakh z chornoyu vidznakoyu

Yuri Ilyenko was born on July 18, 1936 in Cherkassy, Ukrainian SSR, USSR as Yuri Gerasimovich Ilyenko. He was a director and writer, known for Bilyy ptakh z chornoyu vidznakoyu (1971), Swan Lake: The Zone (1990) and Vecher nakanune Ivana Kupala (1969). He was married to Lyudmila Efymenko. He died ...

13. Lisa Rinzler

Cinematographer | Menace II Society

Lisa Rinzler is known for her work on Menace II Society (1993), Three Seasons (1999) and In the House (1997).

14. David Watkin

Cinematographer | Out of Africa

David Watkin was born on March 23rd 1925 to a middle class family in Kent, England. Being fond of classical music, he originally wanted to become a pianist despite the lack of support from his religious father.

Watkin served shortly in World War II before finally beginning his career in cinema. His ...

15. Thomas Mauch

Cinematographer | Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes

Thomas Mauch was born on April 4, 1937 in Heidenheim/Brenz, Germany. He is a cinematographer and producer, known for Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), Nel regno di Napoli (1978) and Waller's Last Trip (1989).