A cinematographer or director of photography (sometimes shortened to DP or DOP) is the chief over the camera and light crews working on a film, television production or other live action piece and is responsible for making artistic and technical decisions related to the image. The study and practice of this field is referred to as cinematography. The cinematographer selects the camera, film stock, lenses, filters, etc., to realize the scene in accordance with the intentions of the director. Relations between the cinematographer and director vary; in some instances, the director will allow the cinematographer complete independence; in others, the director allows little to none, even going so far as to specify exact camera placement and lens selection. Such a level of involvement is not common once the director and cinematographer have become comfortable with each other; the director will typically convey to the cinematographer what is wanted from a scene visually and allow the cinematographer latitude in achieving that effect. Several American cinematographers have become directors, including Reed Morano who lensed ''Frozen River'' and Beyonce's ''Lemonade'' before winning an Emmy for directing ''The Handmaid's Tale''. Barry Sonnenfeld, originally the Coen brothers' DP; Jan de Bont, cinematographer on films such as ''Die Hard'' and ''Basic Instinct'', directed ''Speed'' and ''Twister''. Nicolas Roeg, cinematographer on films such as ''The Caretaker'' (1963) and ''The Masque of the Red Death'' (1964), directed ''Don't Look Now'' (1973) and ''The Man Who Fell to Earth'' (1976). Ellen Kuras, ASC photographed ''Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind'' as well as a number of Spike Lee films such as ''Summer of Sam'' and ''He Got Game'' before directing episodes of ''Legion'' and ''Ozark.'' In 2014, Wally Pfister, cinematographer on Christopher Nolan's three ''Batman'' films, made his directorial debut with ''Transcendence,'' whilst British cinematographers Jack Cardiff and Freddie Francis regularly moved between the two positions.


In the infancy of motion pictures, the cinematographer was usually also the director and the person physically handling the camera. As the art form and technology evolved, a separation between director and camera operator emerged. With the advent of artificial lighting and faster (more light-sensitive) film stocks, in addition to technological advancements in optics, the technical aspects of cinematography necessitated a specialist in that area. Cinematography was key during the silent movie era; with no sound apart from background music and no dialogue, the films depended on lighting, acting, and set. In 1919 Hollywood, the then-new motion picture capital of the world, one of the first (and still existing) trade societies was formed: the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), which stood to recognize the cinematographer's contribution to the art and science of motion picture making. Similar trade associations have been established in other countries too
The ASC Vision Committee
is known for working to encourage and support the advancement of underrepresented cinematographers, their crews and other filmmakers, and to inspire us all to enact positive changes through hiring talent that reflects society at large. However, the Soviet filmmaker, Dziga Vertov, writing in Kino-fot No.1 (August 1922) rejected the role of Cinematographer in the "We: Variant of a Manifesto":

Societies and trade organizations

There are a number of national associations of cinematographers that represent members (irrespective of their official titles) and are dedicated to the advancement of cinematography. These include: *the American Society of Cinematographers (A.S.C.) *the Brazilian Cinematographers Society (A.B.C.) *the International Collective of Women Cinematographers (ICFC) *the Canadian Society of Cinematographers (C.S.C.) *the Guild of British Camera Technicians (G.B.C.T.) *the British Society of Cinematographers (B.S.C.) *the Australian Cinematographers Society (A.C.S.) *the Cinematographers Guild of Korea (C.G.K.) *the Filipino Society of Cinematographers (F.S.C.) *the French Society of Cinematographers (A.F.C.) *the Italian Society of Cinematographers (A.I.C.) *the Western India Cinematographers Association (W.I.C.A.) *the Indian Society of Cinematographers (I.S.C.) *the German Society of Cinematographers (BVK) *the Malaysian Society of Cinematographers (MySC) *the Netherlands Society of Cinematographers (NSC) *the Spanish Society of Cinematography Works (A.E.C) *th
International Federation of Cinematographers
(IMAGO) *the Uruguayan Society of Cinematographers (S.C.U) *the Lithuanian Association of Cinematographers (LAC) *Cinematographers XX *Illuminatrix The A.S.C. defines cinematography as:

Noted cinematographers

See also

*Camerimage *Cinematography *Cinematography Mailing List, a communication forum for cinematographers *Filmmaking *Glossary of motion picture terms *Indian cinematographers *List of film director and cinematographer collaborations *List of film formats *List of motion picture-related topics


External links

Cinematography.comCinematography Mailing List (CML)International Cinematographers GuildThe History of the Discovery of CinematographyAmerican Society of CinematographersThe Guild of British Camera TechniciansBritish Society of CinematographersIndian Society of Cinematographers (ISC)European Federation of Cinematographers/IMAGOAustralian Cinematographers Society (ACS)German Society of Cinematography, BVKItalian Society of Cinematography , AIC (Autori Italiani della Cinematografia)Lithuanian Association of Cinematographers, LAC
{{Authority control Category:Mass media occupations Category:Cinematography Category:Filmmaking occupations