Great cinematographers

by juliensabourdin | created - 05 Jul 2017 | updated - 09 Jul 2017 | Public

1. Roger Deakins

Cinematographer | Blade Runner 2049

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.

Deakins' first feature film in America as cinematographer was Mountains of the Moon (...

2. 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 ...

3. 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 ...

4. 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 ...

5. 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 ...

6. Bruce Surtees

Cinematographer | Beverly Hills Cop

Bruce Surtees was born on August 3, 1937 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Bruce Mohr Powell Surtees. He is known for his work on Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Dirty Harry (1971) and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972). He was married to Carol Buby and Judy Rucker. He died on February 23, 2012 ...

7. 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).

8. Benoît Debie

Cinematographer | Enter the Void

Benoît Debie is known for his work on Enter the Void (2009), The Sisters Brothers (2018) and Love (2015).

9. 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 ...

10. Asakazu Nakai

Cinematographer | Ran

Asakazu Nakai was born on August 29, 1901 in Kobe, Japan. He is known for his work on Ran (1985), Stray Dog (1949) and Seven Samurai (1954). He died on February 28, 1988.

11. Takao Saitô

Cinematographer | Ran

Takao Saitô was born on March 5, 1929 in Kyoto, Japan. He is known for his work on Ran (1985), Kagemusha (1980) and Yojimbo (1961). He died on December 6, 2014 in Zama, Kanagawa, Japan.

12. 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 ...

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. Leon Shamroy

Cinematographer | Cleopatra

Leon Shamroy was an American film cinematographer. He is best known for The Black Swan (1942),Wilson (1944), Leave Her to Heaven (1945), David and Bathsheba (1951), The Robe (1953), Cleopatra (1963), The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) and Planet of the Apes (1968).

He and Charles Lang share the record...

16. 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), Hero (2002) and 2046 (2004).

17. Freddie Francis

Cinematographer | The Straight Story

During his last years at school he spent most of his time writing a thesis on 'the future of film' On leaving school he joined Gaumont British Studios at Lime Grove as an apprentice to a stills photographer for a year. He claimed this taught him more about the art of photography than any other form...

18. 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.

19. Janusz Kaminski

Cinematographer | War Horse

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 ...

20. Emmanuel Lubezki

Cinematographer | Gravity

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 ...

21. Lucien Ballard

Cinematographer | The Wild Bunch

Lucien Ballard, the cinematographer best known for his collaboration with director Sam Peckinpah on such films as The Wild Bunch (1969), was born in Miami, Oklahoma. Ballard became a wanderer after dropping out of the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oklahoma, journeying ...

22. 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...

23. 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, ...

24. Tim Orr

Cinematographer | Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Tim Orr was born in 1968 in North Carolina, USA. He is known for his work on Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012), Z for Zachariah (2015) and Pineapple Express (2008).

25. Gabriel Figueroa

Cinematographer | La perla

Gabriel Figueroa was born on April 24, 1907 in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico as Gabriel Figueroa Mateos. He is known for his work on The Pearl (1947), The Young and the Damned (1950) and María Candelaria (Xochimilco) (1944). He died on April 27, 1997 in Mexico City.

26. 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 ...

27. Agnès Godard

Cinematographer | Beau travail

Agnès Godard was born in 1951 in France. She is known for her work on Beau travail (1999), Home (2008) and Wings of Desire (1987).

28. Vadim Yusov

Cinematographer | Solyaris

Vadim Yusov was born on April 20, 1929 in Klavdino, Leningrad Oblast, Russian SFSR, USSR as Vadim Ivanovich Yusov. He is known for his work on Solaris (1972), The Black Monk (1988) and Andrei Rublev (1966). He was married to Inna Zelentsova. He died on August 23, 2013 in Moscow, Russia.

29. 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).

30. Thierry Arbogast

Cinematographer | The Fifth Element

Thierry Arbogast was born in 1957 in France. He is known for his work on The Fifth Element (1997), Léon: The Professional (1994) and La Femme Nikita (1990).

31. 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 ...



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