On International Women's Day, check out this montage of great female cinematographers
As of 2017, there is still only one category at the Oscars (besides Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor) that has never nominated a woman. It’s for Best Cinematography. Women in fact account for only five percent of all working cinematographers, an inexplicable number even lower than the paltry seven percent of woman directors.
The problem is obviously systemic. One explanation could possibly be traced back to the boys’ club of cameramen that was established during Hollywood’s golden age, which has remained the norm even as women have made gradual progress in other below-the-line fields such as film editing and production design.
But as we celebrate International Women’s Day, there is a little bit of good news on the sun-dappled, beautifully framed horizon. This past year’s Oscars marked the first time that a film lensed by a female cinematographer was nominated for Best Picture — and there were actually two, Fences (by Charlotte Bruus Christensen) and Hidden Figures (by Mandy Walker). Ryan Coogler, the director of Fruitvale Station and Creed (both shot by women) has tapped Rachel Morrison as the director of photography on Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther, a significant breakthrough for the male-dominated superhero genre.
All three of those brilliant DPs, plus nine more, are featured in this wondrous, sumptuous supercut of clips from movies shot by women (above) from the website Fandor. It appeared online last August (along with this accompanying article) but the four minutes are worth savoring today — both as a tribute to the work that women behind the camera have done and as an optimistic nod to the many more opportunities ahead.
But make no mistake: That five percent figure is an embarrassment that should be pinned on every studio executive’s wall, male and female. Along with stills like these (below) from this video.