Gilbert Taylor, BSC will receive the 2006
American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) International Achievement Award,
which is presented annually to a cinematographer who compiled their main body
of work outside the United States. The presentation will be made during the
20th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards here at the Century Plaza Hotel
on February 26, 2006.
Taylor's career stretched over eight decades. He started as an assistant
cameraman in 1929 at the age of 15 and earned nearly 70 cinematography
credits, including such classics as DR. STRANGELOVE, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, THE
OMEN and STAR WARS. Taylor received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the
British Society of Cinematographers in 2002.
"Gil Taylor's artistry contributed to many memorable films that made an
indelible impression on audiences," says Russ Alsobrook, ASC, chairman of the
organization's Awards Committee. "He expanded the vocabulary of visual story-
telling and inspired many cinematographers to explore new ideas."
Taylor joins a distinguished group of recipients of the ASC International
Achievement Award, including Freddie Young, BSC, Jack Cardiff, BSC, Gabriel
Figueroa, AMC, Henri Alekan, Raoul Coutard, Freddie Francis, BSC, Giuseppe
Rotunno, ASC, AIC, Oswald Morris, BSC, Billy Williams, BSC, Douglas Slocombe,
BSC, Witold Sobocinski, PSC, Miroslav Ondricek, ASC, ACK, and Tonino Delli
"This recognition is more important to me than an Oscar or any other award I
can think of because it comes from my peers," Taylor says. "So many excellent
cameramen have received it. I am honored to be included among them."
Taylor was born in April 1914 in Bushey Heath, England. He began his career at
Gaumont-British studios as an assistant cameraman, and advanced to camera
operator on crews with such master cinematographers as Young and Harry Waxman.
Taylor served as an officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves for six
years during World War II. He flew over Germany on Lancaster bombers and
filmed more than 1,000 night bomber raids, documenting the damage they caused.
He was one of the first persons to take a camera on these operations. Taylor
also filmed German prison camps and action on the front lines.
After the war ended, he briefly worked on documentaries and commercials before
earning his first narrative film credit as a cinematographer for JOURNEY
TOGETHER in 1946. Taylor shot some 25 films in England during the 1950s and
early '60s. In 1963, he recorded the iconic imagery for Stanley Kubrick's DR.
STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB. That film's
aerial footage and background plates required about 28,000 miles of flying
time in a B-17 Flying Fortress.
Taylor and director Richard Lester filmed the antics of the Beatles for A HARD
DAY'S NIGHT in 1964. That classic film proved to be a forerunner of music
videos. During the mid- to late-sixties, he collaborated with Roman Polanksi
on three visually compelling films, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH, REPULSION and CUL-
DE-SAC, the latter two which earned BAFTA nominations for Taylor's black-and-
white photography. When a character in REPULSION, played by Catherine Deneuve,
descended into madness, Taylor was quoted as saying, "I hate doing this to a
His 1971 collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock on FRENZY was a reunion of sorts.
He had served as clapper/film loader for cinematographers John A. Cox and
Bryan Langley during the filming of Hitchcock's NUMBER 17 in 1932.
In 1975, Taylor worked with Richard Donner on THE OMEN, which sparked a
revival of horror genre films. Two years later, he filmed STAR WARS with
George Lucas, and in 1978, he photographed DRACULA with director John Badham.
"Gil Taylor was an amazingly versatile cinematographer," observes ASC
President Richard Crudo. "He worked in black and white and color, in virtually
every genre from science fiction to humor, drama and fright films. His
approach to cinematography was original and artful and has stood the test of
Taylor's credits during the 1980s, included LOSIN' IT and THE BEDROOM WINDOW,
directed by Curtis Hanson. He retired in 1994 after shooting DON'T GET ME
STARTED in order to concentrate on studying painting with artists on the Isle
of Wight and in Surrey.
Gilbert Taylor, BSC Will Receive ASC International Achievement Award
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