Norman Langley BSC
I was born in Highgate, London in 1935. As a child my interest lay in still photography, rather than cinema. I was 14 when I built my own darkroom in the garden, cobbled together from an old chicken run. It leaked so much light I could only develop prints at night. When a power cut one evening plunged our street into darkness, my mother was convinced I was to blame.
My first job was at the Wellcome Foundation Medical Film Unit, where I gained experience in all aspects of filmmaking and came to love the magic of cinematography. The films we produced focused on a wide range of medical subjects and I became expert at photographing human bodies, both alive and dead.
From 1958-64 I worked at the Granada TV Film Unit, based at the London Zoo and headed by Desmond Morris. Photographing dozens of films about animal behaviour for network television gave me a lot of patience, which stood me in good stead when I later came to work with actors!
In the mid-1960s I moved to Granada TV in Manchester. Film was not yet much used for locations in TV drama and with a 16mm Éclair camera I was able to move around more quickly and gain better results than the cumbersome outside broadcast units. I worked on both documentaries and drama with directors including Mike Newell and Michael Apted.
In 1970 I went freelance and received my first Director of Photography credit for the feature film titled, appropriately enough, Freelance (1971) directed by Francis Megahy, starring Ian McShane.
Further features included: Oliver Twist (1982) directed by Clive Donner, starring George C. Scott; the cult horror movie House of the Long Shadows (1983) directed by Pete Walker; Where is Parsifal? (1984) directed by Henri Helman, starring Tony Curtis and Orson Welles in one of his last film roles.
Notable drama and movies for TV included: Winston Churchill, The Wilderness Years (1981) directed by Ferdinand Fairfax, for which I received a BAFTA nomination; Monsignor Quixote (1987) directed by Rodney Bennett, starring Alec Guinness; And A Nightingale Sang (1989) directed by Robert Knights, starring Phyllis Logan and Joan Plowright; Jekyll & Hyde (1990) directed by David Wickes, starring Michael Caine.
1970-2010: I kept my hand in at documentaries by shooting Emmy Award-winning segments for the CBS show 60 Minutes.
1973: Fellow of The Royal Photographic Society.
1991: Member of the BSC. Proposed by Ronnie Taylor BSC.
Other DP credits include: The Sweeney; Danger UXB; The Professionals; Poirot; Forever Young; Wilt; All or Nothing at All; Special Branch; The Wimbledon Poisoner.