Conrad L. Hall
Widely feted for his willingness to take artistic chances, Conrad L. Hall ranked high on the list of great American cinematographers working in the 1960s and 1970s. His list of credits was daunting, encompassing such exceptional movies as "The Professionals" (1966), "Cool Hand Luke" (1967), "In Cold Blood" (1967), and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969) for which he won his first Academy Award. Challenging the cinematic norms of the time, he sometimes utilized overly hot contrasts that obscured detail and instances where light caused the camera lens to flare. Such things were previously deemed mistakes, while Hall's usage of such aberrations aided the atmosphere of the piece. He was also instrumental in increasing the believability of night sequences by obtaining excellent results in very low light, rather than the rarely convincing "day for night" technique. After additional duties on such pictures as "The Day of the Locust" (1975) and "Marathon Man" (1976), he took a decade-long break in order to produce commercials with fellow camera expert Haskell Wexler. The later years of his career featured some of Hall's most exemplary craftsmanship and he was rewarded with additional Oscars for "American Beauty" (1999) and "Road to Perdition" (2002), which proved to be his final effort. An innovative cinematographer whose talents bridged the more formal style of older Hollywood and the wave of experimentation that blossomed during the late 1960s, Hall made some of the most exceptional use of shadow and contrast ever captured on film.