Cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky This Week Celebrates His 100th Birthday. Web of Stories Presents a Video Archive of the BAFTA Winning Photographer.
Wolfgang Suschitzky, the Austrian-born cinematographer, celebrates his 100th birthday this week. To mark his life and career, Web of Stories is proud to present a wonderful video archive of "Su," which traces his earliest memories of Vienna through to his work on the 1971 movie Get Carter.
Born in Austria-Hungary to non-practising Jewish parents, Suschitzky’s interest in photography led him to England where he began collaborating with Rotha in the 1940s. His services to British cinema have recently been commemorated: he was presented with a special British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award in July 2012. The award celebrates his creative contribution to British film and television, particularly his work on the cult children’s television series Worzel Gummidge and his camerawork used during the collaboration with Rotha.
Suschitzky recalls how documentary film in the 1930s was emerging, and that enthusiasm was a key attribute in aspiring film-makers: "The interesting thing about documentary film in the ’30s was that we were all amateurs, really... There was no film school and the technicalities... they had to learn on the job as it were, and I had no idea about the grammar of film. But I knew a bit of photography and that helped of course a great deal."
He applied his technique of filming on location in Michael Hodges’ Get Carter: "Michael Caine was the lead. He was very professional indeed... The camera work on it... it was very influenced by Mike Hodges who has a very good eye for setups and he of course conferred with his operator and myself, but he influenced all of us, and much of the good look is due to him, I confess. It was a very pleasant film to shoot because we all got on very well."
Suschitzky also ponders what makes a good photograph and suggests the outcome should produce an aesthetically pleasing picture: "A good photograph for one person is not interesting for another... Anything which is done well can be a good photograph. But it needs a certain talent, I think, to see what to photograph and how to approach it and wait for the right moment, wait for the right light, to make it interesting." He also reflects on the importance of photography: "We couldn’t do without photography. We can’t imagine what it was like without photography."
These in-depth and captivating life stories can be watched as a number of short video clips. All Web of Stories videos are easy to share with friends and colleagues, and may be embedded into personal blogs and websites.
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