Cinematographers rarely reach celebrity status. Directors and actors get all that action. Roger Deakins is probably as close to a rock star as cinematographers get. If you don't know his name, don't worry, you certainly know some of his movies. Deakins has worked the camera and created the visual style for almost every single Coen brothers movie. That means Fargo, The Big Lewbowski, and No Country For Old Men are included. He's also worked his magic with James Bond on Skyfall, and some other little-known indie films like The Shawshank Redemption and A Beautiful Mind.
Variety sat down with Roger for an interview as part of their "Artisans" series, where he discusses topics like the philosophy of his craft and how the way he goes about things tends to get him in trouble when treating movie stars like characters in a movie. The interview is built on talking about his most recent work, Sicario, a dark, moody, and gritty drug war thriller featuring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin. He begins:
You know the thing about cinematography is you're not there to shoot amazing images because each film demands its own look and each situation demands its own look. But I don't want anybody while they're watching the film go 'Oh! that's an amazing image,' because suddenly they're not in the story.
He really dives into how his background in documentaries influences how he operates and how that is a huge benefit with today's modern style of action. Ultimately, it's a fantastic (and short) little discussion worth your time. I always love peeking inside the mind of a legend, even if only to scratch the surface.
UPDATE: Thanks to Fstopper Floyd Rock for correcting me and letting me know that Deakins did not come on board with the Coen brothers until 1991 with Barton Fink. The first few movies before that had Barry Sonnenfeld at the helm.