Famous 20th Century Cinematographers

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 1 
Alfonso Cuarón
(Mexican Filmmaker Known for Directing Films in a Variety of Genres)
Alfonso Cuarón
6
Birthdate: November 28, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

Alfonso Cuarón is a Mexican filmmaker who works in a wide range of genres. He has multiple romantic, action, drama, and fantasy movies to his credit. The son of a doctor and a biochemist, he chose an unconventional profession for himself. After completing his studies, he began working as a director. He has received four Academy Awards. 

 2 
Alton Brown
(TV Personality, Celebrity Chef, Author)
Alton Brown
4
Birthdate: July 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Alton Brown soared to fame as the creator of the Food Network culinary show Good Eats. He has also hosted shows such as Iron Chef America and Feasting on Asphalt. He has authored several bestselling cookbooks. He also created two culinary shows on YouTube during the COVID-19 lockdown.
 3 
Roger Deakins
(Cinematographer)
Roger Deakins
4
Birthdate: May 24, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Torquay

English cinematographer Roger Deakins is known for his collaborations with ace directors such as Sam Mendes and the Coen brothers. He gained fame with his Academy Award-winning cinematography in the films 1917 and Blade Runner 2049, and his work on The Shawshank Redemption and A Beautiful Mind.

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 4 
Todd Fisher
(Director, Cinematographer, Producer and Actor of Television Films and Documentaries)
Todd Fisher
4
Birthdate: February 24, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Burbank, California, United States

Todd Fisher is an American cinematographer, director, producer, and actor. The son of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Todd played a major role in carrying on the legacy of his parents by serving important positions in the Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino and Debbie Reynolds Management Company, Inc. In 2013, he became the CEO of the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum.

 5 
Steven Soderbergh
(Director, Producer)
Steven Soderbergh
6
Birthdate: January 14, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
 6 
David Lean
(English Film Director and Producer Who is Considered One of the Most Important Figures in British Cinema)
David Lean
3
Birthdate: March 25, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Croydon, Surrey, England
Died: April 16, 1991

David Lean was an English film producer, director, editor, and screenwriter. He is best remembered for directing large-scale epics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, A Passage to India, and Lawrence of Arabia. David Lean is widely regarded as one of the most prominent figures in British cinema. He won many prestigious awards, including two Academy Awards.

 7 
Daniel Moder
(Cinematographer)
Daniel Moder
4
Birthdate: January 31, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Daniel Moder, husband of legendary actor Julia Roberts, is best known for his Emmy-nominated cinematography in the TV drama The Normal Heart. He is also known for his camera work and cinematography in the films Secret in Their Eyes, Spider-Man 3, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and The Mexican.
 8 
Robert Osborne
(Actor, Television actor, Biographer, Film actor, Historian, Journalist, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer)
Robert Osborne
4
Birthdate: May 3, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Colfax
Died: March 6, 2017

Best known for his over two-decade-long stint as a Turner Classic Movies host, Robert Osborne also gained fame for his penning The Official History of the Academy Awards and the National Film Book Award-winning 50 Golden Years of Oscar. A qualified journalist, he also wrote columns for The Hollywood Reporter.

 9 
Louis Malle
(Screenwriter, Film producer, Film director, Camera operator, Cinematographer, Actor)
Louis Malle
3
Birthdate: October 30, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Thumeries
Died: November 23, 1995

Louis Malle was a French film director, screenwriter, and producer best known for his film Le Monde du silence, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1957. He was also the recipient of two Golden Lion awards, one of the only four directors to have achieved this feat. He was active in both French cinema and Hollywood.

 10 
Emmanuel Lubezki
(Mexican Cinematographer who is Known for Groundbreaking Uses of Natural Lighting and Continuous Uninterrupted Shots in Cinematography)
Emmanuel Lubezki
3
Birthdate: November 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

Emmanuel Lubezki is a Mexican cinematographer best known for his innovative uses of continuous uninterrupted shots and natural lighting in cinematography. A member of the American Society of Cinematographers, Lubezki has worked with acclaimed American directors like Tim Burton, Mike Nichols, and Michael Mann. Emmanuel Lubezki is the first person to win three consecutive Academy Awards for Best Cinematography.

 11 
Zack Snyder
(Director, Producer and Cinematographer Known for His Films: ‘Dawn of the Dead’, ‘300’ and ‘Watchmen’)
Zack Snyder
4
Birthdate: March 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States

Zack Snyder is an American filmmaker who specializes in making superhero and comic book films, such as 300, Man of Steel, and Justice League. His style of filmmaking has inspired a lot of young directors all over the world. Away from the film industry, Zack plays an important role in the lives of his children, four of whom he adopted.

 12 
Agnes Varda
(Filmmaker and Pioneer of French New Wave Film Movement of the 1950s and 1960s)
Agnes Varda
3
Birthdate: May 30, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium
Died: March 29, 2019

Agnes Varda was a Belgian-born French film director, screenwriter, and artist. She was a key figure in the development of the French New Wave film movement of the 1950s and 1960s. She often made films addressing women’s issues and other social justice problems. She was honored with an Academy Honorary Award. She was married to director Jacques Demy. 

 13 
Caleb Deschanel
(Cinematographer, Director and Father of Actresses Zooey Deschanel and Emily Deschanel)
Caleb Deschanel
4
Birthdate: September 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Caleb Deschanel is an American film and television director and cinematographer. In 2000, he won the American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for his work in the epic historical revisionist war film, The Patriot. Deschanel has also played an important role in shaping the careers of his daughters, Zooey and Emily Deschanel.

 14 
Martin Kenzie
(British Cinematographer and Second Unit Director)
Martin Kenzie
3
Birthdate: April 29, 1956
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cambridge
Died: July 16, 2012

Martin Kenzie was a British cinematographer and second unit director. One of the most important members of the British Society of Cinematographers, Kenzie worked in popular and critically acclaimed films like The Shining, Aliens, Return of the Jedi, and The King's Speech. Martin Kenzie died at the age of 56 due to cancer.

 15 
Russ Meyer
(Director)
Russ Meyer
3
Birthdate: March 21, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Leandro, California
Died: September 18, 2004

Russ Meyer was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, editor, and cinematographer. He is best remembered for directing a series of popular sexploitation films, such as Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! After his death, the majority of his estate and money went to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as per his will.

 16 
Gareth Edwards
(British Filmmaker Best Known for His Independent Science-Fiction Horror Film 'Monsters')
Gareth Edwards
4
Birthdate: June 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England

Gareth Edwards is a British filmmaker best known for his 2010 independent science-fiction horror film Monsters, for which he worked as the writer, cinematographer, director, and visual effects artist. He then went on to direct films like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Godzilla.

 17 
Nicolas Roeg
(English Film Director and Cinematographer)
Nicolas Roeg
3
Birthdate: August 15, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London

Nicolas Roeg was an English cinematographer and film director. He is best remembered for directing films like Performance, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Don't Look Now, and The Witches. A highly influential filmmaker, Nicolas Roeg is credited with inspiring other prominent directors like Christopher Nolan, Steven Soderbergh, and Danny Boyle.

 18 
Damon Herriman
(Actor, Cinematographer, Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer)
Damon Herriman
4
Birthdate: March 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Adelaide
 19 
Alexandra Pelosi
(Journalist)
Alexandra Pelosi
4
Birthdate: October 5, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

Alexandra Pelosi is an American documentary filmmaker, journalist, and writer. Many of her documentary films including Journeys with George, which she made from her recordings of George W. Bush's presidential campaign, have earned her critical acclaim. Alexandra Pelosi has also contributed immensely to NBC News where she worked as a field producer for a decade.

 20 
Eleanor Coppola
(Film director, Actor, Screenwriter)
Eleanor Coppola
3
Birthdate: May 4, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Eleanor Coppola is an American artist, documentary filmmaker, and writer. The wife of Francis Ford Coppola, Eleanor has often been credited for the success of her husband. Eleanor Coppola is also credited with founding an organization called Circle of Memory which aims at commemorating loved ones. She also manages the Rubicon Estate Winery which is owned by her family.

 21 
Lloyd Kaufman
(Director)
Lloyd Kaufman
3
Birthdate: December 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, United States

Lloyd Kaufman is an American film producer, director, actor, and screenwriter. Kaufman is credited with co-founding Troma Entertainment film studio along with producer Michael Herz. Kaufman is also credited with directing many successful films like Tromeo and Juliet and The Toxic Avenger. As an actor, he played important roles in films, such as The Transfiguration.

 22 
Lynne Ramsay
(Scottish Film Director, Producer, Writer, and Cinematographer)
Lynne Ramsay
3
Birthdate: December 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow

Lynne Ramsay is a Scottish film director, producer, writer, and cinematographer. She is best known for directing films like Ratcatcher, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and You Were Never Really Here. A critically-acclaimed filmmaker, Lynne Ramsay has won several important awards, including British Academy Film Awards and Critics Awards.

 23 
Thomas Markle
(Lighting designer, Cinematographer)
Thomas Markle
1
Birthdate: July 18, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newport, Pennsylvania, United States
 24 
Patrick McDermott
3
Birthdate: September 18, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo

Patrick McDermott was an American cameraman who has been missing since June 30, 2005. McDermott, who was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Olivia Newton-John for nine years, disappeared from a fishing charter boat off the coast of Los Angeles. His disappearance has given rise to many theories, including McDermott faking his own death to start life afresh in Mexico.

 25 
Hoyte van Hoytema
(Dutch-Swedish Cinematographer Known for His Collaborations with Director Christopher Nolan)
Hoyte van Hoytema
3
Birthdate: October 4, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Horgen, Switzerland

Born in Switzerland to Dutch parents, Hoyte van Hoytema feels more connected to Sweden than any other country in the world. Currently a Swedish citizen, he lives and works in Sweden, having Swedish wife and daughter. He has worked as cinematographer in numerous films, documentaries and television productions and has won several awards for his contributions.

 26 
Robert Frank
(Photographer)
Robert Frank
3
Birthdate: November 9, 1924
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: September 9, 2019

Robert Frank was a Swiss documentary filmmaker and photographer best remembered for his photographic book The Americans which earned him comparisons with the likes of Tocqueville. An acclaimed photographer, Robert Frank won many prestigious awards, such as Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 1996 and the Edward MacDowell Medal in 2002.

 27 
Peter Greenaway
(Welsh Artist, Film Director, and Screenwriter)
Peter Greenaway
3
Birthdate: April 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newport

Peter Greenaway is a Welsh artist, film director, and screenwriter. He is best known for making films with common traits, such as the contrasts of nature and architecture, costume and nudity, sexual pleasure and painful death, and furniture and people. Some of his best-known films include The Pillow Book and Goltzius and the Pelican Company.

 28 
Conrad Hall
(Considered Amongst History's Most Influential Cinematographers)
Conrad Hall
3
Birthdate: June 21, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pape'ete, French Polynesia
Died: January 4, 2003

Conrad Hall was a cinematographer best remembered for working in films, such as In Cold Blood, American Beauty, and Cool Hand Luke. In 2003, he was named among the most influential cinematographers in history. One of the most celebrated and decorated cinematographers, Conrad Hall won many prestigious awards including three Academy Awards and three British Academy Film Awards.

 29 
Maurice Krafft
(Volcanologists)
Maurice Krafft
3
Birthdate: March 25, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Alsace, French
Died: June 3, 1991
 30 
Sean Stone
(Actor)
Sean Stone
3
Birthdate: December 29, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Sean Stone is an actor, filmmaker, and TV host. He gained massive popularity for hosting the RT America show Watching the Hawks with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace. The son of an actor father, he was introduced to show business as a child. After establishing himself as an actor, he made his directorial debut with the film Graystone. 

 31 
Mike Figgis
(English Film Director, Composer, and Screenwriter)
Mike Figgis
3
Birthdate: February 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Carlisle

Mike Figgis is an English film director, composer, and screenwriter. He achieved popularity after the release of the 1995 American drama film Leaving Las Vegas, for which he received two nominations at the Academy Awards. Mike Figgis is credited with founding an independent filmmakers’ online community called Shooting People.

 32 
Robert Richardson
(film producer, cinematographer, journalist, writer)
Robert Richardson
3
Birthdate: August 27, 1955
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hyannis

Robert Richardson is a prominent cinematographer who has won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography three times. He often collaborates with the directors Errol Morris, Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese. He attended the AFI Conservatory before beginning his career as a camera operator. Over the years, he evolved into one of the most successful cinematographers in Hollywood. 

 33 
Jan de Bont
(Film director, Cinematographer)
Jan de Bont
3
Birthdate: October 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Eindhoven, Netherlands
 34 
Santosh Sivan
(Cinematographer)
Santosh Sivan
3
Birthdate: February 8, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Thiruvananthapuram, India
 35 
Christopher Doyle
(Cinematographer)
Christopher Doyle
1
Birthdate: May 2, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
 36 
John Schwartzman
(Cinematographer)
John Schwartzman
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1960
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles

John Schwartzman is a cinematographer best known for his work in the movies Jurassic World and The Amazing Spider-Man. He studied at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and began his career in the 1980s. He has been nominated for an Academy Award. Actors/musicians Jason and Robert Schwartzman are his siblings. 

 37 
Chris Marker
(Film producer, Film critic, Film director, Photographer, Artist, Screenwriter, Film editor, Television producer, Multimedia artist, Journalist, Cinematographer, Teacher, Poet)
Chris Marker
3
Birthdate: July 29, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine
Died: July 29, 2012

Chris Marker was a French photographer, writer, multimedia artist, film director, and film essayist. He is considered an exponent of the Left Bank subgroup of the French New Wave that came into existence in the 1950s and 1960s. After starting his career by working with members of the Left Bank Film Movement, Marker went on to help popularize the genre.

 38 
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
(Film director, Photographer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer, Film editor)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Istanbul
 39 
Jesús Franco
(Filmmaker Known for Low-Budget Exploitation and B-Movies)
Jesús Franco
3
Birthdate: May 12, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Málaga, Spain
Died: April 2, 2013

Spanish director, screenwriter, producer, actor, cinematographer, editor, musician and composer Jesús Franco Manera, considered as a cult director by both critics and public, is most reputed as a director of exploitation and B-movies. His expansive career spanning over five decades saw him writing, directing, producing and acting in around 173 feature films.

 40 
Vilmos Zsigmond
(Cinematographer)
Vilmos Zsigmond
3
Birthdate: June 16, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Szeged
Died: January 1, 2016

Best known for his Academy Award-winning work in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond was regarded as a prominent pillar of the American New Wave movement. He was also known for his signature use of colors, natural light, and the technique of flashing or pre-fogging.

 41 
Balu Mahendra
(Cinematographer, director, screenwriter and film editor who worked predominantly in Tamil cinema)
Balu Mahendra
3
Birthdate: May 19, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Died: February 13, 2014
 42 
Wally Pfister
(Film director, Cinematographer)
Wally Pfister
3
Birthdate: July 8, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago

Wally Pfister is a cinematographer and director. He started working as a production assistant after high school and eventually became a successful cinematographer. He often collaborates with acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan and the two men have worked together in films like Memento and Inception. He won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for Inception.  

 43 
Rupert Wyatt
(English Screenwriter, Producer, and Director)
Rupert Wyatt
3
Birthdate: October 26, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Exeter

Rupert Wyatt is an English screenwriter, producer, and director. He is best known for directing popular films like The Escapist and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Rupert Wyatt's work has received nominations at the Saturn Awards, Empire Awards, London Film Critics' Circle, and British Independent Film Awards.

 44 
Mario Bava
(Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Writer, Responsible for special effects)
Mario Bava
3
Birthdate: July 31, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sanremo
Died: April 25, 1980
 45 
Robert Elswit
(Cinematographer Known for His Film Collaboration With Paul Thomas Anderson)
Robert Elswit
2
Birthdate: April 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Robert Elswit is a cinematographer best known for his work on the historical drama film, Good Night, and Good Luck and the epic period drama film, There Will Be Blood. The latter earned him an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Beginning his career as a  visual effects camera operator, he went on to become a highly influential cinematographer. 

 46 
Herschell Gordon Lewis
(Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Actor)
Herschell Gordon Lewis
2
Birthdate: June 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pittsburgh
Died: September 26, 2016

Herschell Gordon Lewis was a filmmaker who specialized in the horror genre. He is credited with creating the "splatter" subgenre of horror films, for which he is often referred to as the "Godfather of Gore." He studied journalism at Northwestern University and held a few other jobs before venturing into cinema. He was also a published author of several books. 

 47 
Matthew Libatique
(Cinematographer)
Matthew Libatique
2
Birthdate: July 19, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Elmhurst

Matthew Libatique is a cinematographer. He studied at California State University and later trained in cinematography at AFI Conservatory. He began his career with music videos and branched out into films as well. He often collaborates with director Darren Aronofsky. He received the Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography for his work in the horror film Black Swan.   

 48 
Haskell Wexler
(Cinematographer, Film director, Screenwriter)
Haskell Wexler
2
Birthdate: February 6, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: December 27, 2015

Haskell Wexler was an American cinematographer, film director, and producer. In a survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild, Wexler was named among the ten most influential cinematographers in history. One of the most decorated cinematographers, Haskell Wexler received several prestigious awards including two Academy Awards in five nominations. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 49 
Rodrigo Prieto
(Cinematographer, Photographer)
Rodrigo Prieto
2
Birthdate: November 23, 1965
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mexico City

Rodrigo Prieto is a Mexican cinematographer who is a member of both the Mexican Society of Cinematographers and the American Society of Cinematographers. He has closely worked with acclaimed directors like Martin Scorsese and Alejandro González Iñárritu. He is the recipient of numerous awards and nominations, including three Academy Award nominations and three BAFTA Award nominations. 

 50 
Ernest R. Dickerson
(Television director, Cinematographer)
Ernest R. Dickerson
2
Birthdate: June 25, 1951
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newark

Ernest R. Dickerson is a director, screenwriter, and cinematographer. He received his training at the Tisch School of the Arts, where Spike Lee was a classmate. The two worked together on Lee's 1983 master's degree thesis student film. As a director, Dickerson is best known for horror and action movies. He is a recipient of an NAACP Image Award.