Sir Roger Alexander Deakins CBE is an English cinematographer, best known for his collaborations with directors the Coen brothers, Sam Mendes and Denis Villeneuve. He has been admitted to the British Society of Cinematographers and the American Society of Cinematographers. He is the recipient of five BAFTA Awards for Best Cinematography and two Academy Awards for Best Cinematography from fifteen nominations. His best-known works include The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, A Beautiful Mind, Skyfall, Sicario, Blade Runner 2049, and 1917, the last two of which earned him Academy Awards.
Roger Deakins is the recipient of five BAFTA and two Academy Awards for Best Cinematography
“Every film that I’ve done with Sam has been very different, which is what I really like, that excitement of taking on a new challenge with the same person. I think what influenced us more than anything was the way we worked together on ‘Jarhead’. It was the same intensity and kind of idea of being with the characters and seeing the world from their point of view. We didn’t think of it from a technical perspective. That’s really important to understand. We weren’t thinking about how the camera crosses the canal for example, what you’re thinking is where do we want the camera to be. What is the shot? That’s what you always do when you approach a film. You take the script, and interpret it visually. You don’t think about the difficulty of any particular shot. Once you know what you want to do with the camera and how to describe the story with images, then you work out how to do it.”
‘Once you know what you want to do with the camera and how to describe the story with images, then you work out how to do it’
It is known that Deakins attended art college and the National Film School. He started in documentaries, shooting many in Africa as well as covering the Whitbread Round the World Yacht race that required him to work for more than 9 months as a crew member while filming a documentary. His indispensable and ongoing passion, photography is still one of the most important parts of his life. As he explained, still he enjoys traveling to various places to augment his growing series of images.
“It has a very contemplative feel about it, some people like that, personally I love it. It probably owes a lot to Eastern European filmmaking; I love Tarkovsky’s “Solaris” and I love all his films. I think you can create a tension and an excitement in a movie without a lot of cuts and a lot of action, that’s why I love working with Denis because that’s the way he sees things. Sometimes he’ll say if something’s not working, it’s because it’s too fast.”