The American Society of Cinematographers

Loyalty • Progress • Artistry
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Man in the Chair
Crossing the Line
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David Watkin
ASC Close-Up

British cinematographer David Watkin, who won an Academy Award for Out of Africa (1985), died on Feb. 19 at the age of 82.

Watkin made his first forays into filmmaking with the encouragement of his father. After a stint in the army during World War II, he joined the Southern Railway film unit, which merged with British Transport Films two years later. After climbing the ranks to become British Transport Films’ director of photography, he began shooting commercials as a freelancer, and he quickly transitioned into feature filmmaking on projects such as Help! (1965) and The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968).

Watkin’s feature credits included Catch-22 (1970), Chariots of Fire (1981) and Moonstruck (1987). He was an honorary member of the British Society of Cinematographers, and he was the recipient of the 2004 Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award. He also wrote two autobiographical books, Why Is There Only One Word for Thesaurus? (1998) and Was Clara Schumann a Fag Hag? (2007).


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