Invited to join the 'Cinematographers Branch' of the 'Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' (AMPAS) in 2004.
Member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) since 1996.
Worked as a camera assistant on low-budget movies in New York and Los Angeles.
Moved to the United States in 1979 at the age of 23.
Attended film school in Lodz, Poland.
Personal Quotes (5)
I remember when I got to the stage in commercials when I finally had enough time and enough money, I would shoot something really pretty, but it was like, 'So what?' If you have enough time, enough money, the right equipment and the right filter, it still doesn't necessarily make for a better picture. You can do an average painting with 40 colors, or you can just take a pencil and make a great drawing.
We compose the shot carefully. Ridley is quite precise about composition. He is a visual director. 
Lately we're seeing a film reaction to the digital world. It's like, "Oh, digital is not pure, so to be pure, we're going to shoot film." I've shot lots of film. It's not like I'm some new kid on the block; I've shot a lot of movies on film, and I love film. But everyone forgot about bad baths on Monday. And things could go wrong. Was it the camera? Was it the lab? Or was it Kodak? Was it the wrong batch? Everyone forgot about those details. Remember green dailies? What happened? First, fire the cameraman. But then it was learned that some guy fell asleep at the lab. Everyone has forgotten about those stories. (...) Unfortunately, we are losing people with skills to run a film lab. Nobody who is 30 years old wants to be a lab technician any more; they're all working on their computers, shooting movies on GoPros. Who's going to be the guy in the lab at two in the morning making sure the temperature in the bath is okay? Don't get me started on the film vs digital world. I love those last purists who shoot film and they do such a heavy DI manipulation, you wonder where's the film? Give me three printing lights like we used to do. Then let's talk about film. It's a sentimental notion. 
Using a zoom is just simpler. Even in the [35mm] film world, I use Optimo short zooms all the time. Why not have a zoom lens that is as small, or smaller, than many primes? Some people have to have a lot of big, heavy equipment, but for me it's not necessary. When it comes to the quality of the Optimo lenses, they are wonderful. Of course, you can debate that certain primes made your shot or gave it a look, but, as you know, everything is so sharp these days. Film stocks are sharp, the digital images are sharp, and as long as you treat these zooms well, they're absolutely beautiful. (...) There is a stigma that goes way back to the 1970s, when the earlier zoom lenses came. Some of them breathed, they were not that sharp, not that fast, and during a zoom, they could go out of focus. There were all those issues. It was a very complicated optical thing. Actually there were two stigmas - the first was technical, that the image was not good enough. The other was artistic. The idea of zooming in and out made people think of television. But when you look at all the great movies, people used zooms. William A. Fraker and Vilmos Zsigmond used zooms in the '70s. That's how it was. (...) You can make a statement out of it and make the zoom noticeable. Or you can just do it gently. If we watch various movies, most of us won't even notice whether a zoom was used or not. Using a zoom has become a classic way of telling a story. (...) Basically it's a variable prime. But you can zoom in and adjust the frame slightly during the shot. You can sneak in or out. It holds up, even in 3-D. And it totally works. 
Since my early 3-D days, we used RED cameras because of the size. Now we're using RED Dragons. Our lenses are small Angenieux Optimo zoom lenses, so we don't have to change lenses to change focal lengths. The biggest problem in 3D is changing lenses, because that takes forever. Basically we devised a system with lots of multiple cameras. This movie [The Martian (2015)] has four rigs. On Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) we had five rigs. We have two wide rigs and two tight rigs. That's why those little Angenieux Optimo zooms are basically indispensable. They are the best thing that could happen for us. We have 15-40 mm T2.6 Optimo zooms for the wide rigs and 28-76 mm T2.6 Optimos for the tight rigs. With that range, we don't change lenses, which is great. We line up the shot and adjust the focal length. (...) It's a fantastic modern lens right now. I mean, their short zooms are revolutionary. If you have to make a low-budget film, you can take one camera, and you can take those two zooms, and you can shoot the entire film with two short zooms. You can hand-hold, you can use them as variable primes. They are practical. That's how we do our big 3-D movies. But we are pretty much shooting our whole film with two lenses. The bottom line is that's pretty much all you need. Unless there's an effects shot that needs a super long lens or super wide lens. And I think if you talk to every experienced director, that's what they will tell you.