Cinematographer of the week: Roger Deakins
September 22, 2021
We are talking about one of the most talented and recognized cinematographers ever, Roger Deakins and his road to becoming who he is now.
Roger was enrolled in the Bath Academy of Art to study graphic design. While studying in Bath, he was passionate about photography. In 1972 Deakins was admitted to the National Film School, where he managed to shoot 15 movies.

Roger's career began with taking part as an assistant cameraman in documentary films, which was full of difficulties. In the 1970s not only did he spend nine months on a yacht, filming a round-the-world trip, but also was hired to make films during the civil wars in Africa. Despite these circumstances, he has never regretted having such an experience.

Deakins also was involved in making music videos for Marvin Gaye, Eric Clapton and even the concert film "Van Morrison in Ireland" (1980).

His first feature-length project "Another Time, Another Place" (1983) Roger made in collaboration with his former classmate Michael Radford. They teamed up again on "1984" (1984) based on George Orwell's novel. The film was praised for its specific color palette, to get which Deakins used a technique known as bleach bypass where the silver is retained in the print, creating a washed-out look. After this film, he became noted.
In addition to his main work, Deakins acted as a visual consultant on animated features, including "WALL-E" (2008).

In 1991 Roger met the Coen brothers and started to work with them. Unquestionably this collaboration was life-changing. Critics praised their first joint project "Barton Fink" (1991). To date, they have made 12 films, including "Fargo" (1996) and "The Big Lebowski" (1998).

Apart from the Coen brothers, Roger collaborated with a number of other great directors. Under his belt, there are 2 films with Edward Zwick, 4 with Sam Mendes and 3 with Denis Villeneuve.

In 1995 he was first nominated for Academy Award for Best Cinematography for "The Shawshank Redemption", but didn't get an Oscar. This path to success resulted in 12 more nominations and finally, Roger received an Oscar only in 2018 for "Blade Runner 2049".
Author: Arina Bokach