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.