Harris Savides, cinematographer for David Fincher and Gus Van Sant, dies at 55

By Daniel S Levine,

Harris Savides, one of the most acclaimed cinematographers in the film and music video industry, has died. He was 55.

Savides worked with some of today’s most acclaimed filmmakers, including Gus Van Sant, David Fincher, Woody Allen, Sofia Coppola, Ridley Scott and Noah Baumbach.

His wife, Madine, told The New York Times that the cause of death was brain cancer.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the native New Yorker started out as a fashion photographer before he started working as a cinematographer on music videos. He worked with director Mark Romanek on Madonna’s “Rain,” Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” and Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream.”

“He was a complete rule-breaker,” producer Scott Rudin told the Times. “He’d light anything to make a scene work, never paid attention to conventional wisdom and did not know from self-doubt.”

Baumbach, who worked with Savides on Margot at the Wedding, told the Times, “He made the films totally what they should have been.” Baumbach explained, “We would sit together and I’d talk about how I imagined the movie looking and feeling In Margot, I said I wanted a feeling of being indoors in a house with a lot of windows when you’ve been inside for a while and the sun has gone down and you realize you’re sitting in a dark room. It wasn’t necessarily a scene in the movie, just a feeling for the movie. And he’d go off and do tests, and when I looked at the tests, it was as though the feeling had been translated into pictures.”

Savides worked with Fincher on The Game and Zodiac and shot Van Sant’s Elephant and Milk. He also shot Allen’s Whatever Works and Scott’s American Gangster.

His more recent films include Coppola’s Somewhere and her upcoming The Bling Ring with Emma Watson.

Earlier this year, he visited the Criterion Collection’s offices to discuss his favorite films and influences.

He is survived by his wife and their daughter, Sophie.



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