Through the Looking Glass
For his gleaming white shoulder-length hair, an equally white beard, tinted John Lennon-esque glasses and a domineering presence — he is six-feet plus — Robert Richardson could have passed for a wayward rockstar or movie star. But the three-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer chose to stay behind the camera instead. Richardson, who has filmed The Aviator, Hugo and the recent Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, started off with shooting documentaries and was later roped in to assist on a film, which in his words, “was a complete failure”.
“The team wanted to fire me. But luckily they couldnt afford someone else, so they kept me on. I still remember what the director of photography on that film asked me, what do you want to do in your life? I replied, I want to shoot films. He responded, If you want to shoot movies, go ahead and shoot movies and then step away,” recalls the 63-year-old.
Richardson was in Delhi recently to shoot a commercial for Absolut. The Delhi leg was the final part of the ad campaign called Colourless, which had parts of it shot in Bulgaria as well. “The campaign deals with colour and stresses on how we need to shed all that. I shouldnt have to think about whether you are Hindu or Muslim, or if you are black or white,” says Richardson. In Delhi for just 24 hours, and exhausted after the long day of shoot, Richardson did brush aside some questions, even as he gave us tongue-in-cheek one-liners instead.
A graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design, and later the American Film Institute, Richardson has worked with the biggest names in Hollywood in his career spanning four decades. Cinematography always called out to him. “Looking into the eyes of the actors — thats what drew me to it,” he says, adding, “Its the vision of the cinematographer that is presented on the screen by the director.”
With films like Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds, Shutter Island and JFK to his credit, Richardson has become a go-to person for directors such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Oliver Stone. He frequently addresses them as brothers. We wonder what makes them tick? “I have a language of my own, cinematically and visually, which I tailor to the needs of the director and the script. Its like how humans adapt to new relationships and needs. Casino is different from Inglorious, and then you compare it to Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. ARead More – Source