Clubhouse Conversations — Barkskins

In our new video, cinematographer James Hawkinson discusses his camerawork in this Nat Geo period drama series with interviewer Eric Steelberg, ASC.

Based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Annie Proulx, Barkskins chronicles the arrival of English and French settlers in the New World and the colonists’ willfully destructive impact on the Native Peoples and their environment. The term “barkskins” refers to wood cutters — the profession of these unskilled immigrants tasked with clearing the land, many of whom were trapped in indentured servitude. 

A native of Los Angeles, Hawkinson’s previous credits include the TV series The Man in the High Castle, Hannibal, Community and Arrested Development, as well as the features The Unborn and The Hitcher. After getting his start as an electrician, he gained experience shooting numerous shorts, commercials and music videos for such directors as Chris Cunningham and Anthony and Joe Russo. Hawkinson earned a 2016 Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series for his work in the Man in the High Castle pilot, entitled “The New World.” It also earned him and ASC Award nomination. He was subsequently Emmy-nominated for the episode “Fallout.” 

Also a native Angeleno, Steelberg’s upcoming 2021 supernatural comedy Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the cinematographer’s eighth feature film collaboration with director Jason Reitman, following The Front Runner; Tully; Men, Women & Children; Labor Day; Young Adult; Up In the Air and Juno. His other credits include 500 Days of Summer, Baywatch and the period biopic Dolemite Is My Name. 


Hawkinson (center) confers with the production team on the set of National Geographic's Barkskins. (National Geographic/Peter H. Stranks)

The cinematographer observes a Technocrane setup on location. (National Geographic/Peter H. Stranks)


Director and EP David Slade (left), Hawkinson and crew behind the scenes. (National Geographic/Peter H. Stranks)


You’ll find more episodes in this discussion series here