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Harris Savides Has Died
Zodiac cinematographer was 55

11 October 2012  |  Written by James White  

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There are some filmmaking talents whose names are unlikely to be known by the wider movie-going audience. But those who harbour a deep, abiding love for the craftsmen and women who ply their trade behind the camera will be sad to learn that cinematographer Harris Savides has died aged just 55.

Born in New York, he earned a degree in film and still photography from the School of Visual Arts and initially began a career as a fashion photographer.

That led to the world of music videos and commercials, where he worked on such notable pieces as R.E.M.’s 'Everybody Hurts', Fiona Apple’s 'Criminal' and Madonna’s 'Rain'.

From there, he moved to the cinema, launching his big screen cinematographic career with Heaven’s Prisoners. As directors he’d worked with on ads and music videos made their own switch to film, he collaborated with several, including David Fincher and Ridley Scott.

Savides worked multiple times with Fincher, Gus Van Sant and Sofia Coppola, on movies that included Zodiac, The Game, Milk, Elephant and Gerry. Pixar enlisted his help, along with Roger Deakins, to advise on the cinematography for Wall-E. His most recent job was with Coppola on The Bling Ring.

“A beautiful and incredibly amusing man, Harris taught me so much about the meaning of real beauty and the power of simplicity,” Mark Romanek, who knew Savides for 22 years, told The Washington Post. “He expressed these essential notions in his life and in his work. I was blessed to know him. Today, I feel a great emptiness.”

No cause of death was given, but he'd reportedly been battling cancer. Savides is survived by his wife, his daughter and an array of cinematic images forever burned into our brains.

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Your Comments

RIP Great Man
My heart sank when I heard Harris Savides had died, he did some great work with David Fincher and he worked with Ridley Scott too. He was great with dark nighttime photography like Dean Cundey. One critic remarked that his work on The Game was the darkest photography since Hitchcock's Vertigo. And, of course, Zodiac is superb. He will be missed. More

Posted by BenTramer at 15:57 on 12 October 2012 | Report This Post

Sad stuff...
This is sad news indeed. Zodiac still dazzles me and I think Savides' work on that film was the nearest I have come to see Edward Hopper's style brought to life. The opening shot tracking along the street as fireworks explode is undoubtedly one of the most beautifully lit and shot scenes I can remember. More

Posted by bobsbitchtits at 13:29 on 12 October 2012 | Report This Post

One of the best..
Cinematographers (or Directors Of Photography) are one of the major talents driving a movie and they are often quite shamefully overlooked by the average film fan. They're not just involved with lighting and exposures but often the setups and compositions aswell. Essential elements that drive story telling and no one works more closely with the director during shooting. Harry was far too young to pass and I will miss his presence in cinema. More

Posted by mrjingles75 at 10:10 on 12 October 2012 | Report This Post

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