Great Cinematographers

by jeffhchambers | created - 05 Oct 2014 | updated - 7 months ago | Public

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1. Henri Alekan

Cinematographer | Der Himmel über Berlin

Henri Alekan was born on February 10, 1909 in Paris, France as Henri Albert Alakan. He is known for his work on Wings of Desire (1987), Roman Holiday (1953) and La Truite (The Trout) (1982). He was married to Nadia Starcevic. He died on June 15, 2001 in Auxerre, Yonne, France.

2. 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 ...

3. 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 ...

4. Stanley Cortez

Cinematographer | The Night of the Hunter

Stanley Cortez was born Samuel Krantz in New York City, New York, the son of Sarah (Lefkowitz) and Moses/Morris Krantz, Austrian Jewish immigrants. His famous actor brother, born Jacob Krantz, changed his name to Ricardo Cortez in order to acquire a more suitably romantic Hollywood image. Stanley ...

5. 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), Contempt (1963) and Pierrot le Fou (1965). He died on November 8, 2016 in Labenne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France.

6. William H. Daniels

Cinematographer | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Oscar-winning director of photography William Daniels was a master of black-and-white cinematographer most famous for the 21 films he shot that starred the immortal Greta Garbo between 1926 and 1939. Among the Gabro classics he lensed were The Torrent (1924), Flesh and the Devil (1926), Love (1927)...

7. 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).

8. 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...

9. 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 ...

10. James Wong Howe

Cinematographer | Hud

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. Robert Krasker

Cinematographer | The Third Man

A somewhat underrated figure in cinematographic history, Australian-born Robert Krasker handled some of the most memorable films made in Britain after the Second World War. In his youth he attended art classes in Paris and studied photography at the Photohaendler Schule in Dresden. He briefly ...

12. 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 ...

13. Rudolph Maté

Cinematographer | Gilda

One of the most respected cinematographers in the industry, Polish-born Rudolph Mate entered the film business after his graduation from the University of Budapest. He worked in Hungary as an assistant cameraman for Alexander Korda and later worked throughout Europe with noted cameraman Karl Freund...

14. Russell Metty

Cinematographer | Spartacus

Cinematographer Russell Metty, a superb craftsman who worked with such top directors as John Huston, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg and Orson Welles, was born in Los Angeles on Septmeber 20, 1906. Entering the movie industry as a lab assistant, he apprenticed as an assistant cameraman and ...

15. Kazuo Miyagawa

Cinematographer | Yôjinbô

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

16. 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...

17. 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 ...

18. 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 ...

19. 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 ...

20. 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 Beg inokhodtsa (1969). He died on November 12, 1974 in Moscow, Russian SFSR, ...

21. 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 ...

22. Sacha Vierny

Cinematographer | The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

Sacha Vierny was born on August 10, 1919 in Bois-le-Roi, Seine-et-Marne, France. He was a cinematographer and assistant director, known for The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), The Pillow Book (1996) and Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959). He died on May 15, 2001 in Paris, France.

23. Gordon Willis

Cinematographer | Zelig

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

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

24. Freddie Young

Cinematographer | Lawrence of Arabia

Freddie Young was a British cinematographer. He is best known for his work on David Lean's films Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965) and Ryan's Daughter (1970), all three of which won him Academy Awards for Best Cinematography.

Young was an cinematographer on 130 films, including ...



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