Lol Crawley BSC - Biography
I have an early memory of viewing the world through a curled up fist, a form of rudimentary viewfinder, as a small child travelling home in mid Wales. Looking back I could claim that this had some significance but I can’t genuinely pretend to be the kid that was obsessively staging scenes with his Star Wars figures in order toshoot them on a super 8 camera. In truth, my introduction to the art of cinematography was born out of my interest in art, then photography and finally the moving image that I was lucky enough to study. I applied to university wanting to direct because like many other young students I wasn’t really aware of the roles that existed within the other departments and it was during this time, shooting graduation films for fellow students, that my interest in cinematography began. I left with a real aspiration to shoot feature films.
My first employment in the industry was as a rushes runner on ‘The Loss of Sexual innocence’ (1999) directed by Mike Figgis and photographed by Benoit DelhommeAFC. This led to a camera trainee position for Ernie Vincze BSC on the Ch4 drama ‘Big Women’ (1998) . From there I progressed to clapper loader for Ernie as well as John McGlashan BSC, amongst others, on a number of 16mm television dramas. Knowing that my dream was to eventually shoot feature films I continued to shoot short films for my fellow graduates. It was one of these shorts, ‘Love me or Leave me Alone’ (2003) that caught the attention of director Lance Hammer who invited me to shoot his debut feature ‘Ballast’ (2008) in Mississippi. The film went on to win a best director award for Lance and for me, an Excellence in Cinematography award at the 2008 Sundance film festival. It really was this film that set me on my way for a career in cinematography.
Over the years I have been lucky enough to have the encouraging words and support from many eminent cinematographers including Ellen Kuras ASC, Seamus McGarvey BSC, ASC, Anthony Dodd Mantle DFF, BSC, ASC and Harris Savides ASC. I’ll also never forget attending my first Camerimage cinematography festival in Lodz the year before shooting Ballast and being incredibly inspired by the words of Christopher DoyleHKSC. This impish creature, part Keith Moon, part Andy Warhol and part Harpo Marx spoke so eloquently and passionately about the use of colour in film and espoused a philosophical approach to cinematography that elevated it from the trappings of the technical and embraced a level of artistry, along with a punk attitude, that blew me away.
Film making is far from easy and I have learnt over the years that one can take many different approaches. It’s a process of negotiating not only the material but also the dynamics between a set of individuals that often really don’t know each other very well and are also under a great deal of individual pressure. For me it’s so important to build relationships, a shorthand, a trust and mutual respect with people you want to spend time with and can enjoy the company of time and time again.
I was lucky enough to become a member of the BSC in 2013 and was proposed by Panavision’s Hugh Whittaker.
Other Credits: 45 Years, Better Things, Four Lions, The Childhood of a Leader, Vox Lux, The Secret Garden, Hyde Park on Hudson, The Humans.
Selected Awards: 31st ASC Awards, Nomination for Outstanding Cinematography Spotlight Award; RTS Craft and Design Awards 2013 / 14, Winner of Photography - Drama award; BAFTA TV Awards 2012, Nomination for Best Photography and Lighting: Fiction; Camerimage Cinematography Festival 2012, Golden Frog Nomination; Winner of the Excellence in Cinematography Award: Dramatic.