The first time I remember being aware of cinematography as an art form was going to see ‘Paris,
Texas’. How the photography can really impact a story without gimmicks, just beautiful crafted
images and camera movement.
After studying Electroacoustics at university, in 1991 I joined Granada Television in the sound postproduction
department. Without really much to do, I was sent out on location to get some
‘experience’ with an extremely grumpy old sound mixer. I’d always had an interest in photography,
and the camera department looked like much more fun, so I quickly ingratiated myself. A few
weeks later I found myself hauling a Mitchell 35 camera and intervalometer the size of a small
fridge, up to the top of the Pennines to shoot time-lapse clouds for a weather ident - which plainly
no-one else wanted to do.
In 1994 as a now predominantly documentary assistant of some 3 years experience, I was asked
to pull focus on a TV Drama by one of my regular documentary DPs. I was summoned to the office
at the end of the first week to be told that I was probably the worst focus puller he’d ever worked
with, and starting the following Monday I would be operating the B camera !
My first break as a cinematographer was in 1996 on a documentary about the history of Abbey
Road Studios, shot on 16mm. I was operating 2nd camera, as well as the Steadicam. On day 2 of
shooting, the Director and Producer had a huge argument, resulting in the director walking off. His
DP went with him. We had a sequence lined up which involved Cliff Richard driving around St
John’s Wood in an open top ’57 Chevrolet (I think it was). The producer turned to me and and said
‘I guess it’s up to us now’, and I ended up photographing the rest of the documentary.
My first real break was meeting Sue Gibson BSC on a commercial. Consequently Sue asked me to
operate for her on an upcoming film, and I subsequently had the pleasure of working with her for
over 10 years.
Apart from Sue, I had the honour of operating for both Dick Pope BSC and Tony Pierce-Roberts
BSC on a number of films, which certainly challenged and augmented my operating. More recently
Adriano Goldman ASC BSC was instrumental in my move to cinematographer.
I became an associate member of the BSC in 2004, proposed by Sue Gibson BSC and Dick Pope