A master of chiaroscuro cinematography, Stanley Cortez once described himself as "always chosen to shoot weird things. " Born Stanislaus Krantz in NYC, he adopted his stage name from his older brother, actor-director Ricardo Cortez (1899-1977). While still an undergraduate, Cortez began working as an assistant cameraman on silent films. At the advent of talking pictures, he worked as a photographer's assistant to Edward Steichen and Pirie MacDonald and briefly pursued a career as a portrait photographer in his own right. He wrote, directed and shot the short "Scherzo" (1932) before landing as a contract cinematographer at Universal in the late 1930s. Many of the early features he shot were undistinguished (an exception was 1934's minor horror classic "The Black Cat"), but Cortez developed a reputation for economy and efficiency. He was loaned to RKO to shoot Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942). Sparing no expense, he and Welles created a particular look for the film drawn from the low-key lighting utilized by early photographic pioneers. Cortez's fluid camerawork with its deep-focus and unique framing kept the film visually interesting and he earned his first Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography. His second Academy Award nomination was for his work alongside Lee Garmes on the epic "Since You Went Away" (1944).