When you were a child, what film made the strongest impression on you?
Bullitt (1968). I was 10 years old, and it opened my eyes to American action/thriller movies. We did not have television in South Africa when I was a child, so all the movies we saw were in the cinema.
Which cinematographers, past or present, do you most admire?
There are too many to list here, but those who matter to me most are the ones that are changing and bringing new style to the art form: ASC members Emmanuel Lubezki, Bob Richardson and Roger Deakins, to name a few.
What sparked your interest in photography?
My father had an 8mm Bell & Howell with which he documented our lives.
Where did you train and/or study?
I got a job at BFCS, a commercial-production company in London, after I finished college. I began as a trainee in the camera department.
Who were your early teachers or mentors?
Michael Seresin, BSC; Hugh Johnson, and Tony and Ridley Scott.
What are some of your key artistic influences?
The classic film-noir movies I watched as a teenager in London, and the work of Vermeer, Picasso, Helmut Newton, John Boorman, and Tony and Ridley Scott.
How did you get your first break in the business?
Hugh Johnson invited me to assist on the reshoots of Tony Scott’s The Hunger.
What has been your most satisfying moment on a project?
Finishing the DI for Star Trek (2009) at Company 3.
Have you made any memorable blunders?
Sorry, none to speak of.
What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
When I was a focus puller on a movie with Adrian Biddle, BSC, I told him I did not have focus marks, and he said, ‘Feel the Force.’ I use that advice all the time.
What recent books, films or artworks have inspired you?
I just saw Frida whilst doing research, and the color palette is a great inspiration for me at the moment. Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC did a lovely job.
Do you have any favorite genres, or genres you would like to try?
As long as I am using film as a medium, I am inspired. Any genre would be good.
If you weren’t a cinematographer, what might you be doing instead?
I might be a pizza chef.
Which ASC cinematographers recommended you for membership?
Stephen Goldblatt, Allen Daviau and David B. Nowell.
How has ASC membership impacted your life and career?
I’ve wanted the ASC credential ever since I started in the movie industry as a student. Becoming a member is a huge accomplishment that I will always be proud of.