JACK CARDIFF, OBE (1914 – 2009)

Cardiff was a British cinematographer, director and photographer. His career spanned the development of cinema, from silent film, through early experiments in Technicolor to filmmaking in the 21st century. He was best known for his influential colour cinematography for directors such as Powell, Huston and Hitchcock. In 2000 he was awarded an OBE and in 2001 he was awarded an Honorary Oscar for his contribution to the cinema.

Cardiff was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, and his parents were music hall entertainers. He worked as an actor from an early age, both in the music hall and in a number of silent films: My Son, My Son (1918), Billy's Rose (1922), The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots (1923) and Tiptoes (1927). At 15 he began working as a camera assistant, clapper boy and production runner for British International Pictures, including Hitchcock's The Skin Game (1931).

In 1935, Cardiff graduated to camera operator and occasional cinematographer, working mostly for London Films. He was the first to shoot a film in Britain in Technicolor: Wings of the Morning (1937). When the war began he worked as a cinematographer on public information films. The turning point in his career was as a 2nd unit cameraman on Powell & Pressburger's The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943); they were impressed enough to hire Cardiff as cinematographer on their post-war Technicolor A Matter of Life and Death (1946). Their collaboration continued with Black Narcissus (1947), which won Cardiff an Oscar and a Golden Globe, and The Red Shoes (1948).

These films put Cardiff's talents in high demand, and a string of big-budget films followed. In 1995, the British Society of Cinematographers conferred a lifetime achievement award on Cardiff. In the late 1950s Cardiff began to direct, with two modest successes in Intent to Kill (1958) and Web of Evidence (1959). In 1960 his adaptation of D. H. Lawrence's novel Sons and Lovers, starring Trevor Howard, Wendy Hiller and Dean Stockwell, was a successful hit. It earned seven Oscar nominations and won Freddie Francis Best Black-and-White Cinematography. Cardiff received a Golden Globe for direction.

The photographs on this site where taken as stills whilst he was working on many of these distinguished films.