Russell Paul Carpenter
Patti Carpenter (m. ?–2012)
American Society of Cinematographers
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Russell Paul Carpenter, ASC (born 1950) is an American cinematographer and photographer. He shot the 1997 Best Picture-winning film Titanic, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Much of his work has been in independent and genre cinema, with films like Critters 2: The Main Course, The Lawnmower Man, and Hard Target.
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- Early life
- Personal life
challenges facing cinematographers with russell carpenter asc
The grandson of a film sound engineer, Carpenter was born in Van Nuys, California in 1950 to a family of six. After his parents divorced in 1960, he moved with his mother and 4 siblings to Orange County, where he took up Super 8 films as a hobby. He enrolled in San Diego State University to study television directing, but later changed his major to English. To pay for school, he worked at a local public broadcasting, where he learned the ropes of documentary filmmaking. After graduating, he moved back to Orange County, where he shot educational films and documentaries.
Upon relocating to Los Angeles, Carpenter worked as a director of photography on numerous low-budget horror films like Sole Survivor and Cameron's Closet. In 1983, he shot The Wizard of Speed and Time, a special effects-laden experimental film directed by animator Mike Jittlov. Due to difficulties arising in financing and distribution, the film was not released until 1989. His first major studio film was Critters 2: The Main Course, written and directed by Mick Garris. The Los Angeles Times criticized the film but praised Carpenter's cinematography. Two years later, he shot his first science fiction film, Solar Crisis, and his first action film with Death Warrant starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. After shooting several episodes of the television series The Wonder Years, he worked on The Lawnmower Man.
During the production of the John Woo-directed action film Hard Target, Carpenter was contacted by director James Cameron, leading to the two collaborating on the 1994 Arnold Schwarzenegger action comedy True Lies, Carpenter replaced Cameron's previous director of photography Adam Greenberg. Their following collaboration, Titanic, earned Carpenter both an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and an (ASC) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases.
Carpenter is most widely known for his early work in horror and genre cinema and for his collaborations with directors James Cameron, McG, and Robert Luketic. His first major project as Director of Photography was the 1988 horror-comedy Critters 2: The Main Course.
His work on the 1997 film Titanic earned him an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, an ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases, a nomination for a BAFTA Award, as well as numerous other accolades.