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David Watkin
(March 23, 1925 - February 19, 2008) U.K.

David Watkin

Cinematographer

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David Watkin was born to a middle class family in Margate, Kent, England, the fourth and youngest son of a solicitor father. Being fond of classical music, he originally wanted to become a classical pianist, but his father refused his request for piano lessons.

Watkin served shortly in World War II before finally beginning his career in cinema. He joined the Southern Railway Film Unit as a messenger boy, graduating to camera assistant in 1948. In the postwar era, young directors were struggling to break away from the constraints of studio productions and were developing a more natural, visual language, influenced by the French new wave. Cameramen such as Watkin, with his background in commercials and more adventurous documentaries, were eagerly sought.

His break into the film world arrived when he shot the memorable title sequence for the film Goldfinger , in 1964. Being an innovator in cinematography, he was known as having an artistic technique- almost picturesque. His most famous works are Jesus of Nazareth , Moonstruck , Yentl, and many other known titles.

He will be remembered too for his experimentation with light, and his pioneering style of lighting subjects during the onset of late afternoon gloom, when moving figures would fail to maintain consistent visibility. His solution, an array of nearly 200 lights raised to a height and placed up to a quarter of a mile from the scene to provide even, natural lighting with realistic shadows, became known as the "Wendy Light", since he was affectionately known to his friends as "Wendy" Watkin.

Watkin, whose second autobiography is Was Clara Schumann a Fag Hag? , was openly gay long before homosexuality was decriminalised.

David Watkin, who over a 50-year career worked on more than 60 films and was director of photography for 12 of them, received the 1985 Academy Award for best cinematography for his work on Sydney Pollack's Out of Africa .

David Watkin died, aged 82, at his home in Brighton, England. He was 82. The cause was prostate cancer. He is survived by his longtime companion Nicky Hand.

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Sources: http://www.nytimes.com/ - https://www.theguardian.com/ . http://www.independent.co.uk/

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