At the beginning of the month The Film Experience had their first Team Experience poll of the year, asking us to submit our top ten lists for Best Working Cinematographers. (TFE list)
That turned out to be a way more difficult top ten than to make than expected, especially because the modifier working cinematographers kept tripping me up. I ended up cheating to include one of my favourite cinematographers (#2), even though the last movie he worked on was The Tourist. And, pure, ethics made me leave off a great cinematographer (Gökhan Tiryaki) I've only seen one film for. Thinking about cinematography has my brain going into overdrive.
When the topic comes up, I always find myself wondering if I'm less discerning than I ought to when when it comes to cinematography. Figuring out what constitutes "good" cinematography is, relatively, a simpler task than figuring out what's "good" editing, or even "good" sound mixing. But, like with any visual aspect of film, the question of where good means effective or good means attractive always comes up. I remember this piece Jose wrote in 2012 about the modern bias in cinematography, not unlike the similar bias in costume design, for example. I suspect I'm guilty of this on occasion. My 2013 ballot is period heavy. But then, I remember my best shot film of the year is this so I don't feel too badly.
Digressions aside, here's a shot from my favourite work for each of my top cinematographers.
#10 Hoyte van Hoytema Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (#6 on TFE list)
#9 Darius Khondji Evita
#8 Eduardo Serra The Wings of the Dove
#7 Roger Deakins The Assassination of Jesse James (#2 on TFE list)
#6 Greig Fraser Bright Star (#3 on TFE list)
#5 Emmanuel Lubezki Sleepy Hollow (#1 on TFE list)
#4 Bruno Delbonnel Inside Llewyn Davis (#8 on TFE list)
#3 Seamus McGarvey Anna Karenina (#4 on TFE list)
#2 John Seale The English Patient
#1 Ralph Richardson The Aviator