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Janusz Kaminski

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Also Known As: Janusz Zygmuni Kaminski Died:
Born: June 27, 1959 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Poland Profession: director of photography, director, 2nd unit photographer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As the director of photography on many of director Steven Spielberg's films, Janusz Kaminski created some of the most lasting and memorable images in cinema history. Whether filming "Schindler's List" (1993) in stark black-and-white, giving the film a cold documentary feel, or using nausea-inducing, hand-held shots while storming the beaches of Normandy in "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), Kaminski had the unique gift of maintaining an air of realism, while using a wide array of washed-out color schemes, hyperkinetic movement and other visual trickery to draw the audience into the action. A naturally gifted cinematographer, Kaminski had in inauspicious start in Hollywood, making B-movies for low-budget impresario Roger Corman, whose cookie-cutter production facility has been the proving grounds for many later A-list filmmakers. Eventually, with a great deal of resilience and a bit of luck, Kaminski honed his craft to the point where he was noticed by none other than Spielberg. Following "Schindler's List," a stunning and diverse list of achievements with the director followed, among them "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" (2001), "Catch Me if You Can" (2002) and "Munich" (2005). A rare non-Spielberg...

As the director of photography on many of director Steven Spielberg's films, Janusz Kaminski created some of the most lasting and memorable images in cinema history. Whether filming "Schindler's List" (1993) in stark black-and-white, giving the film a cold documentary feel, or using nausea-inducing, hand-held shots while storming the beaches of Normandy in "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), Kaminski had the unique gift of maintaining an air of realism, while using a wide array of washed-out color schemes, hyperkinetic movement and other visual trickery to draw the audience into the action. A naturally gifted cinematographer, Kaminski had in inauspicious start in Hollywood, making B-movies for low-budget impresario Roger Corman, whose cookie-cutter production facility has been the proving grounds for many later A-list filmmakers. Eventually, with a great deal of resilience and a bit of luck, Kaminski honed his craft to the point where he was noticed by none other than Spielberg. Following "Schindler's List," a stunning and diverse list of achievements with the director followed, among them "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" (2001), "Catch Me if You Can" (2002) and "Munich" (2005). A rare non-Spielberg endeavor, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (2007), earned Kaminski some of the highest accolades of his career, while his reunion with the director on the momentous biopic "Lincoln" (2012) arguably surpassed all that had come before. In the eyes of many, Kaminski had established himself as both the best known and the finest cinematographer of his generation.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Hania (2008)
2.
  Lost Souls (2000) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Intimate Portrait: Holly Hunter (2000) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1982:
Immigrated to the USA
1987:
Did the photography for the US short, "Transients/Durchreisende/En transit," directed by Juan Valdivia
1989:
Worked as chief lighting technician on the horror anthology film, "After Midnight"
1990:
Was director of 2nd unit photography on several features beginning with "Streets"
1991:
First feature credit as cinematographer, "The Terror Within II"
1991:
First TV work, cinematography on the TV-movie, "Wildflowers," directed by Diane Keaton
1993:
Won widespread acclaim and numerous awards for his work on Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List"
1997:
Reteamed with Spielberg to shoot back-to-back, "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," "Amistad" and "Saving Private Ryan"
1999:
Feature directorial debut with "Lost Souls," starring Winona Ryder
2001:
Reteamed with Spielberg for "A.I. Artificial Intelligence"
2002:
Once again worked with Spielberg on the sci-fi thriller "Minority Report"
2002:
Continued his association with Spielberg on "Catch Me If You Can"
2004:
Director of photography for Spielberg's "The Terminal"
2005:
Worked with Spielberg on "Munich" and "War of the Worlds"
2007:
Filmed "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"; earned an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

National Film School: -
AFI Conservatory: Los Angeles , California - 1987
Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 1987
Columbia College: Chicago , Illinois - 1987

Notes

"He [Steven Spielberg] is very experienced with flashy ideas," Kaminski said. "But on this movie ["Schindler's List"], he would stand back and anaylze the dramaturgy of the movie and the story. We did many hand-held shots. We stayed away from the dolly. We stayed away from anything that would make the film look like a Hollywood production." --Janusz Kaminski, quoted in "A Filmmaker Comes of Age", DAILY VARIETY, December 7, 1993.

"He worked for me as student in 1986 and 1987, and he was certainly in the group of students that you felt were going to go on and make careers for themselves. He had a really good mix of technical ability and a great personality." --former teacher Charles Celander, production manager in the film and video department at Columbia College, quoted in the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, March 23, 1999

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Holly Hunter. Actor. Married on May 20, 1995; separated on October 31, 2001; he filed for divorce on December 20, 2001.
wife:
Rebecca Rankin. Television correspondent. Married January 12, 2004.

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