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Fred Elmes

Fred Elmes

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Also Known As: Frederick Elmes Died:
Born: November 4, 1946 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession: director of photography

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A frequent collaborator with former AFI co-student David Lynch, Frederick Elmes has supplied a dreamy, super-realistic visual style to four of Lynch's features, including "Eraserhead" (1977, which began as a student film) and more recently, "Wild at Heart" (1990). Raised in New Jersey, he became interested in photography when he was lent a Leica camera by his father. After studies at Rochester Institute of Technology and NYU, Elmes won a fellowship to the American Film Institute, where he encountered two directors with whom he would later collaborate: John Cassavetes and Lynch.

A frequent collaborator with former AFI co-student David Lynch, Frederick Elmes has supplied a dreamy, super-realistic visual style to four of Lynch's features, including "Eraserhead" (1977, which began as a student film) and more recently, "Wild at Heart" (1990). Raised in New Jersey, he became interested in photography when he was lent a Leica camera by his father. After studies at Rochester Institute of Technology and NYU, Elmes won a fellowship to the American Film Institute, where he encountered two directors with whom he would later collaborate: John Cassavetes and Lynch.

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CAST: (feature film)

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:
Raised in New Jersey
1970:
Directed short, "Street Scenes"
1971:
Moved to Los Angeles
1974:
First feature film credit (additional camera operator), "A Woman Under the Influence", directed by John Cassavetes
1976:
First feature as director of photography, Cassavetes' "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie"
1977:
Worked with David Lynch on feature-length version of "Eraserhead"
1977:
Last collaboration with Cassavetes, "Opening Night"
1983:
First worked with Martha Coolidge on "Valley Girl"
1984:
Shot "Dune", directed by Lynch
1986:
Won acclaim for his work on Lynch's "Blue Velvet"
1986:
First collaboration with Tim Hunter, "River's Edge"
1987:
Delved into TV work, "Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8" (HBO)
1988:
Worked with Martha Coolidge on the unsold CBS TV pilot "Roughhouse"
1990:
Served as cinematographer on Lynch's "Wild at Heart"
1992:
Was interviewed in the documentary "Visions of Light"
1993:
Shot "The Saint of Fort Washington", directed by Tim Hunter
1997:
Shot Christopher Reeve's directorial debut, the HBO TV-movie "In the Gloaming"; earned Emmy nomination
1997:
Served as director of photography on Ang Lee's "The Ice Storm"
1999:
Reteamed with Lee for "Ride With the Devil"
2001:
Again collaborated with Ang Lee on "Chosen", one of five short films shown under the collective title "The Hire" at bmwfilms.com
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Education

Rochester Institute of Technology: Rochester , New York -
AFI Conservatory: Los Angeles , California - 1971
Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 1972 - 1974
Institute of Film and Television, New York University: New York , New York - 1975

Notes

"Having the film properly focused and exposed doesn't mean you are making a movie. That comes from sharing a vision with a director, using a camera to tell a story. . . . We tell stories by translating words into images. We all use the same lenses, filters, and gels. We process the same film stocks at the same labs. But no two people use these tools exactly the same way. You can transform the mood by adding one simple light. Colors can seem richer by subtracting light. These subtle things make a difference. And you make those decisions thousands of times on every film." --Frederick Elmes quoted in an Eastman Kodak Motion Picture Films advertisement

"As a cinematographer, you step back and say, 'This is what nature has given me today. My job is to make the most of it.' You have to be aware of the bigger things that are around you, many of which you can't change. You shouldn't spend your time trying to change them, but rather finding a way to use them." --Elmes in AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER, May 1997

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