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Gil Taylor v George Lucas

Jonathan Flanagan

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  • 2 months later...
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It is no secret perhaps that David Watkin, BSC was gay. I mention this only because I actually think it influenced his cinematography, as it was rooted much more in swinging London, editorial and fashion, rather than staler coming-up-through-the-male-ranks. Towards the end of his life, he used to love to have young DP's over for lunch at his Brighton house. I think he just enjoyed the chats and hanging with young DP's that were interested in hearing his war stories. I got wind of this and sent him a letter where I asked if I could come talk cinematography over a cup of tea, as I was just up the coast in Hastings. I got the loveliest letter back from him, where he complained he had just had surgery or something and once he'd healed from that, I was most welcome to have lunch in Brighton! He would send me an invitation when he felt better.

Unfortunately, a couple of moths later he was dead.

I kept that letter for years, but somehow it got lost in the move to the US, which is a bummer. In any case, David Watkin was a fantastic cinematographer and anyone can learn a lot from his work. Very ahead of his time in many ways, with a modern approach to lighting that was at the time still very much mired in the old studio way of doing things. In many ways I think of him as the DP equivalent to Helmut Newton in stills. Not so much in style perhaps, but in that they both really renewed the medium and pushed it to something new.

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