Who are the most influential cinematographers of all time and why?
Most influential cinematographers
Posted 06 July 2015 - 08:11 AM
I think most will say Gregg Toland or Roger Deakins or Gordon Willis but I will say one who really sums up what a cinematographer does for a film:Jordan Cronenweth. And the film is Blade Runner. Blade Runner is a mood piece. Literally any frame can be frozen and printed out and hung as a painting and it will do justice. It is beautiful. Cronenweth to me is master who does not get the dues(Although I often wonder if it was as much Ridley since all his films are gorgeous). In France they have a mindset where if an artist creates a great piece of music or art or film, they respect him/her. Even if the said piece was created 50 years ago;they will tip off their hat. In Hollywood you are only as good as your last film. Jordan Cronenweth; with just one piece of work(although he did a few more) left a lasting legacy.
I wish there were a book on the production design/cinematography of Blade Runner.
Posted 06 July 2015 - 10:59 AM
I feel like "influential" cinematographers always have something very flashy about their cinematography, and have a signature style. You can tell almost instantly that films are shot by them. Personally, I feel that a great cinematographer should also be very versatile - that's why my personal favourites of more recent times are Roger Deakins, Wally Pfister, Rodrigo Prieto and Robert Elswit. I could even count Michael Chapman and Michael Ballhaus in there too (maybe because I only know them from their Scorsese collaborations...).
Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:17 PM
As a projectionist it was Lawrence of Arabia. Not very original I know but it was the only film where people constantly begged me for a single frame of the print. (they never got one!)
Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:46 PM
Darius Khondji, Conrad Hall... And of course myself as well
Edited by Giray Izcan, 17 September 2015 - 04:47 PM.
Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:53 PM
You can certainly say that "Blade Runner" was influential, but remember that Ridley Scott and Jordan Cronenweth said they were inspired by "Citizen Kane", particularly the couple of scenes with shafts of light (mainly the projection room scene I'm guessing). So Cronenweth was inspired by Toland, which means it is a bit silly to say that Cronenweth was inspirational but Toland wasn't...
It's hard to talk about "influential" since each generation is influenced by the one before, so how far back to you want to go?
Personally, I feel that modern cinematography took a major turn with Gordon Willis and Vittorio Storaro in the 1970's and we are still working in variations of that contrasty single-source style. But there have been many threads that have different sources, there is still a diffused romantic thread that goes back to Hendrick Sartov and "Broken Blossoms", and even that look had earlier roots in other art forms. But you saw it in some of the more dreamy work by Conrad Hall, Geoffrey Unsworth, William Fraker, then later, Robert Richardson. Some cinematographers seem to shuffle back and forth from that romanticism to harder realism, such as Darius Khondji or Seamus McGarvey, Andrew Lesnie, Chris Doyle.