Roger Deakins is without a doubt one of the best cinematographers working today (and for some odd reason the man still don’t have an Oscar, after being nominated 12 times). Deakins began working in the ’70s on documentaries before breaking into narrative features in the mid-80s, and breaking out as a true talent by the early ’90s. Likely best known for his work with the Coen Brothers — for whom he has lensed among other things “The Big Lebowski,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, and “No Country For Old Men” — Deakins is a master of lighting, especially that of the natural sort (just check out “Prisoners”), with the capability to turn any genre of film into a visually stunning piece of cinema.
Deakins recently sat down with Charlie Rose to chat about the role of a DP, his influences, and to take a look back at his career. The conversation is loose and light and runs from Deakins original desire to shoot documentaries, before finding them to be too “voyeuristic,” and moving into narrative features. He talks candidly about his desire to never direct, and the complex forms of communication that occur on a set. And finally Deakins and Rose take a look some of Deakins’ most iconic shots (such as the hellish hallway scene from “Barton Fink”).
It’s a fascinating and relaxing chat with one of cinemas finest visual artists, and well worth your time. Check out the video below and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.