Mike started work on 17th March 1958 (St. Patrick’s Day, he is ½ Irish) basically as a floor sweeper at Cinesound. Floor sweeping led to stints in the optical printer, animation with the Oxberry and shooting the titles for the newsreel.
Eventually he moved to assisting with the newsreel cameraman and commercials.
Shooting news as a cameraman soon followed with people like Ross Wood, Howard Rube, chief news cameraman John Gillies and legendary film editor Sid Whitley ready with advice and criticism “ You silly bugger! You never shoot the arse of anything except a Sheila!’ (Sid after viewing his footage from the Bathurst car races with far too many shots of racing cars receding into the distance)
TV Commercials and documentaries soon followed and eventually he left Cinesound with the best training one can get, to this day he can to grab a camera and run with it. John Leake was the first freelance cameraman in Sydney Mike was the second.
In 1967 with his friend and ex Cinesound cameraman Peter Hannan plus many other friends in London he joined them. A union ticket was essential so he worked as “Holiday relief assistant” at the BBC, eventually getting the prized ticket.
Mikes first job in feature films was camera operator on PERFORMANCE and WALKABOUT with director Nic Roeg. Also as an operator he worked with Stanley Kubrick on A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and BARRY LYNDON.
Mike returned to Australia in 1972 to shoot his first feature as Director of Photography, MAD DOG directed by Phillipe Mora and starring Denis Hopper and David Gulpilil.
Returning to the UK he continued shooting feature films that included THE SHOUT directed by Jerzy Skolimowsky starring Alan Bates, John Hurt and Susannah York, THE HIT directed by Stephen Frears starring John Hurt, Terence Stamp and Tim Roth, SCANDAL directed by Michael Caton Jones starring John Hurt, Joanne Whaley and Bridget Fonda.
In 1998 producer Jeremy Thomas ( THE LAST EMPEROR ) shot his first film as director ALL THE LITTLE ANIMALS with Mike as his Director of Photography.
In 2000 Mike shot SHINER for director John Irvin, a modern day version of “King Lear” it starred Michael Caine.
For Television, again with director John Irvin he shot NOAH’S ARK a Hallmark production for NBC, with John Voight , Mary Steenburgen, F Murray Abraham and Charles Coburn.
In addition to Mike’s feature work he has shot over a thousand TV commercials all over the world. Campaigns include Macquarie Bank, Chevrolet, Lovable, McDonalds, Kellogs, Carlton Cold, Ford, Coca Cola, Dove Chocolate, Sony, XXXX Beer, Lucozade Land Rover, Westfield, ABC shops, Johnson & Johnson, Lux and Panadol.
Mike was inducted into The Australian Cinematographers Society Hall of Fame on the 25th of May 2013.
Key mentors for me were Nic Roeg and Stanley Kubrick
Became a member of the BSC 1/6/1979
Mad Dog Morgan
All The Little Animals