A pioneer in the field of special effects photography, Koenekamp began his career as a camera operator for Mack Sennett's Keystone studio, where he filmed such notables as Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson and the famed Keystone Kops. He then went on to Vitagraph Studios, where he had a long working relationship with silent screen comedian Larry Semon. Among those films done with Semon are the original film version of "The Wizard of Oz" (1925) and "Spuds" (1927).
In 1927, Koenekamp moved to the Warner Bros. special effects department, where he remained for 30 years. There he often lensed and directed second unit and special effects segments, with aviation effects his specialty. Among his credits were Max Reinhardt's Hollywood vision of the Bard's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1935), Howard Hawks' stirring "Air Force" (1943), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train" (1951), which featured a memorable whirlwind runaway carousel sequence, and John Huston's "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948). Aside from his work on features, Koenekamp was responsible for several technological innovations, including a synchronized motor connection between a background projector and a camera. Koenekamp was the father of Oscar-winning cinematographer Fred J Koenekamp.
Cinematography (Feature Film)
Visual Effects (Feature Film)
Became a cameraman for Mack Sennett's Keystone studio
Moved to Vitagraph studios, where he photographed the films of Larry Semon for eight years
Joined the American Society of Cinematographers four years after the founding of the group
Worked at Warner Bros' special effects department