Based in Los Angeles, new Society member Simon Dennis, ASC, BSC has been shooting features and high-end TV drama around the world for 20 years. Drawn to both fiction as well as true stories that challenge as well as entertain, he prides himself on being versatile and passionate to create visuals that are story-driven and emotionally motivated.
Raised in rural Devon, UK, and a self-described “day dreamer” at school, Dennis was a very curious photographer from a young age, falling in love with Ansel Adams and black-and-white imagery. It wasn’t until a course in fine arts and graphic design that he discovered his interest and inner love for filmmaking, and eventually went on to graduate with a first-class honors degree in film and television studies at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. It was during this course that Dennis discovered the creative role of a cinematographer and was fixated by it. So much so he took a leap of faith, spending most of his educational grant on an Arriflex 16ST 16mm camera and began to shoot experiments with fellow students.
Dennis continued to learn and hone his craft while shooting music videos before winning a Scottish BAFTA for his photography on the 35mm short film Sex & Death. In 2001 he photographed his first feature film, The Last Great Wilderness, for director David Mackenzie, as well other feature-length projects, including The Sweeney, starring Ray Winstone. He was then invited to photograph TV projects including Doctor Who and Ripper Street, which then led to the acclaimed period crime drama Peaky Blinders, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA and Royal Television Society Award for his lighting and craft.
His other credits include the features The Girl with All the Gifts, starring Glenn Close, and The Limehouse Golem, starring Bill Nighy, as well as the series Jekyll & Hyde for ITV Studios, Black Sails for Starz and Krypton for Warner Bros.
In 2017, Dennis was invited to America to photograph executive producer Ryan Murphy’s award-winning limited series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, which led to working for Murphy on his much-acclaimed shows Pose, Ratched, Hollywood and Impeachment: American Crime Story for Fox Studios/Netflix.
Dennis was the subject of this ASC Clubhouse Conversation episode regarding his work on Hollywood, interviewed by Stephen Lighthill, ASC:
He recently shot the five-part limited series Candy for Hulu and the eight-part limited series Fellow Travellers for Showtime.
Dennis became a member of the British Society of Cinematographers in 2018.