FILE – In this film publicity file image released by Focus Features, Director of photography Harris Savides, left, and director Sofia Coppola work on the set of “Somewhere.” Savides, an acclaimed cinematographer who worked frequently with Gus Van Sant and David Fincher, [auth] died Wednesday night, Oct. 10, 2012, his representatives at The Skouras Agency confirmed Thursday. He was 55. (AP Photo/Focus Features, Franco Biciocchi, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Harris Savides, the acclaimed cinematographer who worked frequently with Gus Van Sant and David Fincher, has died at 55.
Savides died Wednesday night, his representatives at The Skouras Agency confirmed Thursday. They did not release a cause of death. He died in New York, where he’d spent most of his life, the American Society of Cinematographers said.
Savides was known for vividly recreating the hazy hues of 1970s cinema in films like Fincher’s “Zodiac,” Ridley Scott’s “American Gangster” and Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere,” and for mesmerizingly fluid, long takes with Van Sant in movies including “Last Days,” ”Elephant” and “Gerry.” He was also the director of photography on Van Sant’s more mainstream movies, “Finding Forrester” and “Milk.”
The last film he shot was Coppola’s “The Bling Ring,” based on the true story of Los Angeles teens who burglarized celebrities’ homes, which is due out next year.
Savides, who’d initially intended to be a fashion photographer, also shot several influential music videos in the mid-1990s. He often worked with director Mark Romanek on clips including Michael and Janet Jackson’s famously expensive, black-and-white “Scream,” Nine Inch Nails’ intentionally damaged, distorted “Closer” and Madonna’s radiant “Rain.”
Many in the film world reacted with sadness and appreciation, both people Savides had worked with and those who admired him.
“A beautiful and incredibly amusing man, Harris taught me so much about the meaning of real beauty and the power of simplicity,” said Romanek, director of “One Hour Photo” and “Never Let Me Go” who’d known Savides for 22 years. “He expressed these essential notions in his life and in his work. I was blessed to know him. Today, I feel a great emptiness.”
Coppola said: “Like everyone who met him, I loved Harris. I learned so much about filmmaking from him and we have his beautiful work to remember him by. He was a great artist and a great man. He will always inspire those of us who worked with him to do our best.”
“Donnie Darko” director Richard Kelly wrote on Twitter: “Watching Criterion of THE GAME. So sad to hear about the passing of Harris Savides, one of the truly great cinematographers of all time.”