Masters of Cinematography

by TarquinMcLusky | created - 15 Dec 2012 | updated - 03 Feb 2013 | Public

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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 fourteen nominations for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

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2. 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 ...

3. 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 ...

4. 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...

5. 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 (...

6. 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 ...

7. 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 ...

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. Freddie Young

Cinematographer | Lawrence of Arabia

Cinematographer with a long and distinguished career crowned with Oscars for three consecutive films directed by David Lean between 1962-1970. Awarded OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1970.

10. Kazuo Miyagawa

Cinematographer | Yôjinbô

Kazuo Miyagawa was born on February 25, 1908 in Kyoto, Japan. He is known for his work on Yojimbo (1961), Rashômon (1950) and Otôto (1960). He died on August 7, 1999 in Tokyo, Japan.

11. John F. Seitz

Cinematographer | Double Indemnity

Distinguished veteran cinematographer John F. Seitz had eighteen patents for various photographic processes to his name. These included illuminating devices, processes for making dissolves and the matte shot, which he perfected during filming of Rex Ingram's Trifling Women (1922). Seitz started ...

12. 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 ...

13. László Kovács

Cinematographer | Easy Rider

László Kovács was born on May 14, 1933 in Cece, Hungary. He is known for his work on Easy Rider (1969), Five Easy Pieces (1970) and Copycat (1995). He was married to Audrey. He died on July 22, 2007 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.

14. 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 ...

15. 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 ...

16. John Alton

Camera_department | An American in Paris

Starting out in 1924 as a lab technician at MGM, John Alton left there for Paramount to become a cameraman. He traveled to France and then to South America, where he wrote, photographed and directed several Spanish-language films. Returning to Hollywood in 1937, he soon achieved a reputation as one...

17. Sergey Urusevskiy

Cinematographer | Selskaya uchitelnitsa

Sergey Urusevskiy was born on December 23, 1908 in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire as Sergei Pavlovich Urusevsky. He was a cinematographer and director, known for The Village Teacher (1947), Dream of a Cossack (1951) and Letter Never Sent (1960). He died on November 12, 1974 in Moscow, Russian SFSR,...

18. 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 ...

19. 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).

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. Néstor Almendros

Cinematographer | Days of Heaven

One of the highest appraised contemporary cinematographers. He was born in Spain but moved to Cuba by age 18 to join his exiled anti-Franco father. In Havana, he founded a cineclub and wrote film reviews. Then, he went on to study in Rome at the Centro Sperimentale. He directed six shorts in Cuba ...

22. Charles Rosher

Cinematographer | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

Among the foremost technical innovators in his field, a charter member of the American Society of Cinematographers, English-born Charles Rosher had initially aimed for a diplomatic career. Fortunately, he chose a different career option and attended lessons in photography at the London Polytechnic ...

23. Tonino Delli Colli

Cinematographer | Der Name der Rose

Tonino Delli Colli was born on November 20, 1922 in Rome, Lazio, Italy as Antonio Delli Colli. He is known for his work on The Name of the Rose (1986), Life Is Beautiful (1997) and Once Upon a Time in America (1984). He was married to Alexandra Delli Colli. He died on August 16, 2005 in Rome.

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. 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...