The American Society of Cinematographers

Loyalty • Progress • Artistry
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Return to Table of Contents December 2010 Return to Table of Contents
Black Swan
Resident Evil-Afterlife
Presidents Desk
DVD Playback
ASC Close-Up
Frank Byers
Frank B. Byers

When you were a child, what film made the strongest impression on you?
I remember two. When I was very young, I saw the original Invaders from Mars (1953), which was powerfully frightening. And Lawrence of Arabia (1962) — such strong visuals, and in 65mm, no less.

Which cinematographers, past or present, do you most admire, and why?
ASC members Haskell Wexler, Gordon Willis and Owen Roizman. No two of their films seemed to look alike, and they’re very story-oriented cinematographers.

What sparked your interest in photography?
The photographic aspects of film, lighting and composition, seemed to attract me from the beginning. I remember being 15 or 16 and wanting to know what duties the director of photography performed for his job.

Where did you train and/or study?
The American Film Institute.

Who were your early teachers or mentors?
George Folsey Sr., ASC, and Jan DeBont, ASC. 

What are some of your key artistic influences?
The films of Truffaut, Godard and Hitchcock.   

How did you get your first break in the business?
I fell in with a documentary company in the Boston area. I started loading clair NPR mags, and within six months I was shooting second camera.

What has been your most satisfying moment on a project?
Doing my first 35mm release print at Technicolor.

Have you made any memorable blunders?

What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
From my agent: ‘Be the happiest guy on set.’ He was right.

What recent books, films or artworks have inspired you?
The movie An Education, which was beautifully done in every way.

Do you have any favorite genres, or genres you would like to try?
I love gangster films, and I’d love to do more comedies.

If you weren’t a cinematographer, what might you be doing instead?
I’d be a musician.

Which ASC cinematographers recommended you for membership?
Gil Hubbs, Johnny Jensen and Alan Caso.

How has ASC membership impacted your life and career?
I realized after attending some functions at the ASC that many of the members shared experiences and questions I had about the business. It was invaluable to find that out.

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