The Brooklyn-based cinematographer co-designed the Ruby 7 luminaire.
New York City native Charles Libin found himself fascinated with film as a teenager, and his hometown fueled that curiosity as it served as a backdrop to some of the most seminal films of the 1970s. The teen was able to track down filming locations and witnessed the making of a number of pictures, including Taxi Driver, Marathon Man, Three Days of the Condor, Network and The Warriors. After discovering that he was most fascinated by cinematography, the young man researched what he called the “common denominators” of the films he loved. ASC members “Gordon Willis, Owen Roizman, Victor J. Kemper, Michael Chapman, Conrad L. Hall and Adam Holender were the alchemists behind the lenses on many of them,” he says.
Libin took a photography class at the YMCA during high school, which led him to pursue street photography and further education at SUNY Purchase School of Film and Media Studies. During college, Libin worked as a bartender at the NYC nightclub Hurrah with fellow SUNY Purchase student and future ASC member Paul Cameron. The two gathered all Purchase students in possession of 16mm cameras and filmed the B-52’s performance of “Rock Lobster” at Hurrah, which began a long journey of Libin photographing rock and roll musicians.
Libin developed a love of lighting, which led him to working in NYC as a gaffer on independent features, commercials and music videos, including collaborating with Fred Murphy, ASC as a gaffer for insert shots on The State of Things. He then transitioned into serving as an operator and 2nd-unit DP on the series Boardwalk Empire, Mildred Pierce, The Night Of, Fosse/Verdon, Escape at Dannemora and Halston, among others.
As a cinematographer, Libin’s credits include the features Sister of the Groom, En el séptimo día and Remote Control as well as the documentaries The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash, The New Yorker Presents and Rise: Rave Outlaw Disco Donnie.
In addition to his work behind the camera, Libin taught a cinematography workshop at SUNY Purchase and has served as a mentor for teen filmmakers at Reel Works in Brooklyn. He also worked with gaffer David Skutch to design the Ruby 7, a luminaire distributed by Arri.