Famous American Cinematographers

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 1 
Alton Brown
(TV Personality, Celebrity Chef, Author)
Alton Brown
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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.
 2 
Steven Soderbergh
(Director, Producer)
Steven Soderbergh
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Birthdate: January 14, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
 3 
Todd Fisher
(Director, Cinematographer, Producer and Actor of Television Films and Documentaries)
Todd Fisher
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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.

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 4 
Robert Osborne
(Actor, Television actor, Biographer, Film actor, Historian, Journalist, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer)
Robert Osborne
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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.

 5 
Caleb Deschanel
(Cinematographer, Director and Father of Actresses Zooey Deschanel and Emily Deschanel)
Caleb Deschanel
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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.

 6 
Adam Wingard
(Director Known for His Film ‘You’re Next’, ‘The Guest’, ‘Blair Witch' and 'Death Note')
Adam Wingard
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Birthdate: December 3, 1982
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States

Adam Wingard is an American filmmaker. A multi-talented personality, Wingard has worked as a director, editor, screenwriter, actor, cinematographer, and composer on several projects. Adam Wingard is best known for directing the 2007 horror film Pop Skull, which won the Best Feature Film award and the Jury award at the Indianapolis International Film Festival and Boston Underground Film Festival respectively.

 7 
Daniel Moder
(Cinematographer)
Daniel Moder
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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.
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 8 
Alexandra Pelosi
(Journalist)
Alexandra Pelosi
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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.

 9 
Eleanor Coppola
(Film director, Actor, Screenwriter)
Eleanor Coppola
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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.

 10 
Lloyd Kaufman
(Director)
Lloyd Kaufman
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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.

 11 
Thomas Markle
(Lighting designer, Cinematographer)
Thomas Markle
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Birthdate: July 18, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newport, Pennsylvania, United States
 12 
Patrick McDermott
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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.

 13 
Jeremy Saulnier
(Film Director, Cinematographer and Screenwriter)
Jeremy Saulnier
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Birthdate: June 10, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Jeremy Saulnier is an American cinematographer, film director, and screenwriter. He is credited with writing and directing critically acclaimed films, such as Blue Ruin which holds an impressive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2015, Jeremy Saulnier was honored at the Film Independent Spirit Awards with a John Cassavetes Award nomination.

 14 
Robert Frank
(Photographer)
Robert Frank
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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.

 15 
Conrad Hall
(Cinematographer)
Conrad Hall
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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.

 16 
Sean Stone
(Actor)
Sean Stone
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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. 

 17 
Robert Richardson
(film producer, cinematographer, journalist, writer)
Robert Richardson
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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. 

 18 
John Schwartzman
(Cinematographer)
John Schwartzman
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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. 

 19 
Greig Fraser
(Cinematographer)
Greig Fraser
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Birthdate: October 3, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
 20 
Bill Tilghman
(Politician)
Bill Tilghman
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Birthdate: July 4, 1854
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Fort Dodge
Died: November 1, 1924

Bill Tilghman was a gunfighter, career lawman, and politician in Kansas and Oklahoma. He was active during the late 19th century and became a legendary figure after he single-handedly captured the notorious bandit Bill Doolin and killed many members of his gang. He became a politician later in his career and served as an Oklahoma state senator. 

 21 
Robert Elswit
(Cinematographer Known for His Film Collaboration With Paul Thomas Anderson)
Robert Elswit
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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. 

 22 
Wally Pfister
(Film director, Cinematographer)
Wally Pfister
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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.  

 23 
Herschell Gordon Lewis
(Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Actor)
Herschell Gordon Lewis
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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. 

 24 
Haskell Wexler
(Cinematographer, Film director, Screenwriter)
Haskell Wexler
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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.

 25 
Matthew Libatique
(Cinematographer)
Matthew Libatique
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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.   

 26 
Rodrigo Prieto
(Cinematographer, Photographer)
Rodrigo Prieto
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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. 

 27 
Ernest R. Dickerson
(Television director, Cinematographer)
Ernest R. Dickerson
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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. 

 28 
Mauro Fiore
(Cinematographer)
Mauro Fiore
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Birthdate: November 15, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marzi, Italy

Born in Italy, Mauro Fiore later moved to the US with his family. The cinematographer is best known for his Academy Award-winning work in the blockbuster hit Avatar and is part of the American Society of Cinematographers. The father of three is married to costume designer Christine Vollmer.

 29 
Steve Sabol
(Film producer, Cinematographer)
Steve Sabol
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Birthdate: October 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Moorestown, New Jersey, United States
Died: September 18, 2012
 30 
Larry Fong
(Cinematographer)
Larry Fong
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Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Larry Fong is a cinematographer. He developed an early interest in photography and film as a school student. He graduated from the Art Center College of Design and began his career filming music videos. He soon proceeded to shoot  TV pilots, commercials, and shorts. Eventually, he forayed into films as well. He is also an accomplished magician. 

 31 
Gordon Hugh Willis
(Cinematographer)
Gordon Hugh Willis
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Birthdate: May 28, 1931
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: May 18, 2014

Gordon Hugh Willis Jr. was an American film director and cinematographer. He is best remembered for his photographic work in films, such as The Godfather series and Annie Hall. Willis is credited with defining the cinematic look of the '70s. He was named among the ten most influential cinematographers in a 2003 survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild.

 32 
Gregg Toland
(Cinematographer)
Gregg Toland
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Birthdate: May 29, 1904
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Charleston, Illinois, United States
Died: September 28, 1948

Gregg Toland was a cinematographer known for employing innovative techniques in his work. Orson Welles' Citizen Kane and William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives are counted among his best works. He won two Academy Awards from seven nominations. He is considered one of the top ten most influential cinematographers in the history of film. 

 33 
Paul Strand
(Photographer, Film director, Cinematographer)
Paul Strand
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Birthdate: October 16, 1890
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City
Died: March 31, 1976

Paul Strand was an American filmmaker and photographer who helped transform photography into an art form along with other modernist photographers like Edward Weston and Alfred Stieglitz. He is also credited with co-founding the Photo League in the 1930s. During his illustrious career that spanned 60 years, Paul Strand covered several subjects and genres throughout Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

 34 
Dean Cundey
(Cinematographer)
Dean Cundey
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Birthdate: March 12, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Alhambra

Dean Cundey is a cinematographer and film director. He began his career with a series of low-budget films and eventually got noticed by mainstream filmmakers. He often collaborates with John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Zemeckis. He specializes in the horror genre though he also works in family/comedy movies. He won the 1999 Society of Camera Operators President's Award. 

 35 
Shane Hurlbut
(Cinematographer)
Shane Hurlbut
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Birthdate: February 18, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ithaca, New York, United States

Shane Hurlbut is an American cinematographer best known for his work in films like Drumline. Hurlbut is one of the most critically acclaimed cinematographers of the current generation. His photographic work in his debut film, The Rat Pack, earned him a nomination from the American Society of Cinematographers, making him the youngest cinematographer to have been nominated by the ASC.

 36 
André Weinfeld
(Film producer)
André Weinfeld
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Birthdate: April 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France

André Weinfeld is a TV and film producer, cinematographer, director, screenwriter, journalist, and photographer. In addition to covering the rock and roll and pop scenes of the 1960s and 1970s, André Weinfeld also worked as a war correspondent, covering wars such as the Six-Day War, Vietnam War, and the Yom Kippur War.

 37 
Russ Meyer
(Director)
Russ Meyer
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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.

 38 
László Kovács
(Cinematographer)
László Kovács
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Birthdate: May 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cece, Hungary
Died: July 22, 2007

Remembered for his contribution to the development of American New Wave films, László Kovács was a Hungary-born American cinematographer, known for his work on films like Easy Rider, and Five Easy Pieces. Recipient of three Lifetime Achievement Awards, he had worked with many reputed directors and was a member of the board of directors of the American Society of Cinematographers

 39 
John Toll
(Cinematographer)
John Toll
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Birthdate: June 15, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cleveland

Cinematographer and producer John Toll is best known for his Academy Award-winning work in Legends of the Fall and Braveheart. His other major works include The Thin Red Line. He is part of the American Society of Cinematographers and is married to Academy Award-winning make-up artist Lois Burwell.

 40 
Anna Foerster
(Cinematographer)
Anna Foerster
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Birthdate: 1971 AD
Birthplace: Germany

Anna Foerster is a cinematographer and director. She began her career in the 1990s as a second unit cinematographer. She often collaborates with director Roland Emmerich and has worked with him on several films. Independence Day and Godzilla are among her best-known works as a cinematographer. She made her directorial debut with the horror film Underworld: Blood Wars. 

 41 
Harold Rosson
(Cinematographer)
Harold Rosson
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Birthdate: April 6, 1895
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City
Died: September 6, 1988

Harold Rosson was a cinematographer who was active during the early and classical Hollywood cinema. He had an extensive career spanning over five decades. He began working during the silent era and easily transitioned to the talkies era. He is best known for his work on the fantasy film The Wizard of Oz and the musical Singin' in the Rain. 

 42 
Matthew VanDyke
(Journalist, Documentary filmmaker, Revolutionary)
Matthew VanDyke
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Birthdate: June 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Baltimore

Matthew VanDyke is a former journalist, documentary filmmaker, and revolutionary. He joined the Libyan Civil War as a rebel fighter and was taken a prisoner of war. He managed to escape and campaigned for Libya’s freedom. He later traveled to Syria and created the documentary 7 Days in Syria. He has also briefly worked as a war correspondent. 

 43 
Edwin S. Porter
(Pioneering Filmmaker of the Early 1900s)
Edwin S. Porter
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Birthdate: April 21, 1870
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Connellsville, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: April 30, 1941

Director Edwin S. Porter, best known for films such as The Life of An American Fireman and The Great Train Robbery, revolutionized filmmaking with his pioneering technique of cross-cutting in editing. He had previously been a tailor and had served the US Navy, before being hired by the Edison Company.

 44 
Carl Boenish
(Former freefall cinematographer, who in 1978 filmed the first jumps from El Capitan using ram-air parachutes)
Carl Boenish
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Birthdate: April 3, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Castle, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 7, 1984

Carl Boenish was a freefall cinematographer. He filmed the first jumps from El Capitan using ram-air parachutes in 1978. He was involved in the development and popularization of BASE jumping as a recreational activity and is considered the father of modern BASE jumping. He also served as a cinematographer on the John Frankenheimer parachuting film classic The Gypsy Moths. 

 45 
David Brower
(Cinematographer, Ski mountaineer)
David Brower
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Birthdate: July 1, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berkeley
Died: November 5, 2000

Prominent environmentalist and world-class mountaineer, David Brower became aware of the environmental issues through his proximity to nature, eventually joining Sierra Club, serving it in different capacities over a long period before establishing several organizations of his own. Author of three autobiographies, he fought to keep dams out of the Grand Canyon and was thrice nominated for Nobel Peace Prize.  

 46 
Helen Levitt
(Photographer, Cinematographer, Screenwriter)
Helen Levitt
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Birthdate: August 31, 1913
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn
Died: March 29, 2009

Photographer Helen Levitt is remembered as one of the most celebrated street photographers of her time. Her works, depicting New York City, were later published as A Way of Seeing: Photographs of New York. Her subjects were mostly underprivileged children. She had also been a cinematographer for documentary films.

 47 
Karl Freund
(Cinematographer, Film director, Screenwriter)
Karl Freund
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Birthdate: January 16, 1890
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bohemia
Died: May 3, 1969
 48 
Les Blank
(Documentary filmmaker)
Les Blank
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Birthdate: November 27, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tampa
Died: April 7, 2013

Documentary filmmaker Les Blank is best remembered for his detailed portraits of musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie. While he initially wished to be an author, he later made films such as The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins. He also worked on films on other cultural topics, such as food.

 49 
Edward Lachman
(Cinematographer, Film director)
Edward Lachman
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Birthdate: March 31, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Morristown

Cinematographer and director Edward Lachman is best known for his Academy Award-nominated movies Carol and Far from Heaven. Lachman has also worked on hits such as Erin Brockovich and Desperately Seeking Susan. The son of a movie distributor, he was educated at Harvard and later studied painting at Ohio University.

 50 
Charles Lang
(Cinematographer)
Charles Lang
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Birthdate: March 27, 1902
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bluff, Utah, United States
Died: April 3, 1998

One of the most celebrated cinematographers from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Charles Lang spent most of his illustrious career working at Paramount Pictures. He introduced a distinctive style of lighting in A Farewell to Arms, which was later adopted by most Paramount films. The film also won him an Oscar.