Any art form draws its acolytes from diverse sources, and frequently in unlikely ways.  For my part, I loved pictures, and drawing, and movies from a time almost beyond my memory, and I always thought (along with many others, to be sure) that movies were made by superhuman beings that were never seen in such mundane surroundings as a supermarket or a toilet. But I studied them, partly from enthusiasm for the form itself, and partly for the love of study.

It was natural for me to concentrate on the visual elements, and at some point I began to familiarize myself with the names that cropped up regularly in the hundreds of films that came my way: James Wong Howe, Arthur Edeson, Sid Hickox, Harry Stradling, Joe MacDonald, John Alton, Franz Planer, Karl Freund . . . these names became icons in a Pantheon that I barely understood, but touched something essential in me. As I learned more fully what a “Director of Photography” did, I began (unconsciously) to associate visual styles with their corresponding authors, and before long I was a hopelessly lost cause.

Having by this time had some experience with the trials and satisfactions of filmmaking, I want to share some of my enthusiasms and obsessions, and try to connect my earliest visceral reactions to a group of artists with an appreciation of their inspiring achievements. In so doing, I hope to learn more about the art, and about myself.

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