The Celluloid Void Project: A Compendium of Female Cinematographers in Chronological Order (Through 2000)

March 19, 2020

When I started The Celluloid Void, I didn't really know exactly what I wanted it to be. I wanted to focus on women working in the film industry, but at first, I primarily used it as a place to house reviews and lists related to more modern films. As I found myself doing more research for pieces on early cinema, however, I began to realize how little had been written on many of the oldest women directors, screenwriters, editors, and—the subject of today's post—cinematographers

 

This list is a bit different than my directors, screenwriters, and editors lists, in that women cinematographers have been a bit of a rarity (few were working consistently pre-1975, and we didn't see a real explosion until the 1990s). To this day, only one woman has been nominated for Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards—Rachel Morrison, who lensed Black Panther in 2018. Thus I've found it more useful to list the first project each woman cinematographer shot (rather than listing the women by birth year).

 

This is definitely an ongoing project, so drop me a line (virginia@thecelluloidvoid.com) if you've got names you'd recommend adding. For this list, I’m counting feature-length debut projects made by women credited as cinematographer or DP, to keep things as simple as possible.

 

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1915: Rosina Cianelli (Uma transformista original)  🇮🇹

1938: Tamara Lobova (Bez oshibki) 🇷🇺

1942: Era Savelyeva (Ubiytsy vykhodyat na dorogu) 🇦🇿

           Galina Pyshkova (Mashenka) 🇷🇺

1944: Yu-Lan Chen (Zoya) 🇷🇺

1949: Nina Yurushkina (Lesnaya byl) 🇷🇺

1953: Antonina Egina (Yegor Bulychyov i drugiye) 🇷🇺

1956: Margarita Pilikhina (Za Vlast Sovetov) 🇷🇺

1969: Joyce Wieland (Reason Over Passion)

          Nurith Aviv (Pano Will Not Be Shown) 🇷🇺

1971: Joan Churchill (Punishment Park) 🇨🇦

1972: Marina Goldovskaya (Valentina Tereshkova) 🇷🇺

           Elfi Mikesch (Passions) 🇦🇹

1975: Babette Mangolte (What Maisie Saw) 🇫🇷

           Kim Longinotto (Pride of Place) 🇬🇧

           Katia Forbert (Take It Like a Man, Ma'am) 🇵🇱

1977: Rashida Abdel Salam (The Water-Carrier Is Dead) 🇪🇬

           Frances Reid (In the Best Interests of the Children) 🇺🇸

1978: Ulrike Ottinger (Madame X) 🇩🇪

           Judy Irola (Northern Lights) 🇺🇸

1979: Sandi Sissel (The Wobblies) 🇺🇸

           Martha Ansara (My Survival as an Aboriginal) 🇦🇺

1980: Brianne Murphy (Fatso) 🇺🇸

1981: Caroline Champetier (Le Pont du Nord) 🇫🇷

1982: Karen Grossman (The Slayer) 🇺🇸

1984: Jeanne Lapoirie (Argie) 🇫🇷

1985: Kathleen Beeler (Star Worms II: Attack of the Pleasure Pods) 🇺🇸

          Zoe Dirse (DES: An Uncertain Legacy) 🇨🇦

           Jan Kenny (Fran) 🇦🇺

          Maya Deren (Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti) 🇺🇸

           Joan Hutton (The Best Time of My Life) 🇨🇦

           Dyanna Taylor (Pumping Iron II) 🇺🇸

           Lisa Rinzler (I Was a Teenage TV Terrorist) 🇺🇸

1987: Hélène Louvart (Coeurs Croisés) 🇫🇷

           Sophie Charrière (If the Sun Never Returns) 🇫🇷

1988: Nancy Schreiber (Trapped Alive) 🇺🇸

          Agnès Godard (Room 666) 🇫🇷

1989: Kei Fujiwara (Tetsuo) 🇯🇵

1990: Mandy Walker (Return Home) 🇦🇺

           Maryse Alberti (The Golden Boat) 🇫🇷

1991: Sue Gibson (Secret Friends) 🇬🇧

           Jane Castle (Dead to the World) 🇳🇿

1992: Ellen Kuras (Swoon) 🇺🇸

           Birgit Hein (Die Unheimlichen Frauen) 🇩🇪

           Judith Kaufmann (Never Sleep Again) 🇩🇪

1993: Agnès Varda (The Young Girls Turn 25) 🇫🇷

           Peggy Ahwesh (Strange Weather) 🇺🇸

1994: Teresa Medina (Reflections on a Crime) 🇪🇸

           Ann T. Rossetti (Go Fish) 🇺🇸

1995: Amy Vincent (Animal Room) 🇺🇸

           Tami Reiker (The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Young Girls in Love) 🇺🇸

           Sabine Lancelin (Sept en Attente) 🇨🇩

           Sarah Cawley (A Reason to Believe) 🇺🇸

           Kim C. Simms (Lost on the Bohemian Road) 🇺🇸

           B.R. Vijayalakshmi (Paattu Paadava) 🇮🇳

1996: Akiko Ashizawa (Splatter: Naked Blood) 🇯🇵

           Laela Kilbourn (Reindeer Games) 🇺🇸

           Naomi Kawase (Sun on the Horizon) 🇯🇵

           Deborah Eve Lewis (High Road) 🇺🇸

           Lynne Ramsey (Memory of the Soil) 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

1997: Miriana Marusic (The Castle) 🇦🇺

1998: Josée Deshaies (Something Organic) 🇨🇦

           Sharon Calahan (A Bug’s Life) 🇺🇸

           Uta Briesewitz (Next Stop Wonderland) 🇩🇪

2000: Valentina Caniglia (Little Indians) 🇮🇹

           Patti Lee (Bunny) 🇺🇸

           Muriel Coulin (Le pont du trieur) 🇫🇷

           Cynthia Pusheck (The Rowdy Girls) 🇺🇸

  

 

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