Thursday, October 18, 2012

Harris Savides, 1957-2012

One of my favorite modern cinematographers died last week at the too-young age of 55. I got really excited when I saw Savides' name in the credits of a film. He had this amazing talent for capturing light and turning it into an expressive, poetic tool that served the aesthetics of the directors he worked with while subtly revealing Savides as a distinctive artist in his own right. He wasn't a showoff, and his work didn't call unnecessary attention to itself, but it was beautiful stuff. I'm going to miss seeing it.
Savides was a still photographer who started working in movies in his late thirties after a transitional period photographing music videos. He had an especially fruitful partnership with Gus Van Sant. They started working together on Van Sant's worst film, Finding Forrester. That movie is well-photographed garbage, but Van Sant followed it up with three of his best (Gerry, Elephant and Last Days), using Savides on all three. Savides also worked on Van Sant's Milk and Restless. Besides Van Sant, Savides was a cinematographer for David Fincher, John Turturro, Jonathan Glazer, Noah Baumbach, Ridley Scott, Woody Allen, and Sofia Coppola.

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