The American Society of Cinematographers

Loyalty • Progress • Artistry
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Return to Table of Contents June 2015 Return to Table of Contents
Presidents Desk
ASC Master Class
ASC Technology Committee
ASC Close-Up
Mauro Fiore

Mauro Fiore, ASC

When you were a child, what film made the strongest impression on you?

When I was probably 11, I saw The Red Balloon [1956], which left an impression on me because of its simplicity and complexity.

Which cinematographers, past or present, do you most admire?

Vittorio Storaro [ASC, AIC], for his boldness and bravado; Sven Nykvist [ASC], for his simplicity and naturalistic interpretations; Henri Alekan [AFC], for his brilliant black-and-white mastery; Conrad Hall [ASC], for his obsessions; and Janusz Kaminski, for his fearlessness. I was Janusz’s gaffer, and he taught me to have a voice.

What sparked your interest in photography?

Black-and-white photography and darkroom experimentation.

Where did you train and/or study?

Columbia College Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Who were your early teachers or mentors?

My high-school photography teacher, Mr. Anderson; my 3-D design teacher, Mr. Faust; and Jack Whitehead [BSC], who taught my cinematography class at Columbia.

What are some of your key artistic influences?

Painters such as Caravaggio, for his dramatic use of chiaroscuro; Vermeer, for his soft-light masterpieces, and Di Chirico, for his melancholy. Photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edward Weston and Diane Arbus. Italian cinema, for its heart (maybe it’s my heritage); American cinema, for its lack of pretense, and French cinema, for its analytical expression.

How did you get your first break in the business?

Janusz Kaminski called me from Los Angeles to ask me to help out on a Roger Corman film. We had finished film school in Chicago that year. We met several new filmmakers and friends who are now a very big part of the filmmaking community.

What has been your most satisfying moment on a project?

Capturing that synchronicity of light and movement in a harmonious rhythm, watching a great performance from behind the camera, and being nominated for an Academy Award, and winning, for Avatar.

Have you made any memorable blunders?

When I was a gaffer, we once filmed a whole day’s work with a flicker strobe, which we discovered the next day. The stage we were using was run by a construction generator without a crystal governor.

What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?

My father once told me that a true master only needs a few tools. Pride in your work is paramount.

What recent books, films or artworks have inspired you?

I have been intrigued lately by biographies of musicians, such as Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Fela Kuti and James Brown.

Do you have any favorite genres, or genres you would like to try?

I would love to be involved in a period film with a modern perspective and concept.

If you weren’t a cinematographer, what might you be doing instead?

Maybe an architect or a craftsman of some kind.

Which ASC cinematographers recommended you for membership?

Janusz Kaminski, Phedon Papamichael and Wally Pfister.

How has ASC membership impacted your life and career?

The ASC brings a symbol of respect to our industry, and it creates a community for sharing ideas with colleagues.


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