In this time of convulsive transition and revolutionary technological change within the motion picture industry, certain truths remain constant-one of these being the fact that film is, first and foremost, primarily a visual medium. Because this is so, the special contribution of the cinematographer to the general excellence and audience impact of any motion picture presentation is, and always will be, of paramount importance.
The tools of the trade used by the Director of Photography and his crew continue to grow more compact, more efficient and more automated. His metier is much more than a kind of reflex expertise born of vast experience in his chosen field. It involves such all-important intangibles as taste and style and a peculiar gut-feeling for achieving the specific images that will best tell the story.
It is these abstractions of technique which make the work of each cinematographer distinctive-and variable, depending upon the dramatic demands of specific screen vehicles. How, then is it possible to choose a single "best" from among the highly diversified challenges which cameramen face during the course of a single production year?
Five superlatively photographed motion pictures were nominated for the Best Achievement in Cinematography "Oscar" to be bestowed during the 46th Annual Academy Awards Presentation. Obviously, only one could be the recipient of the cherished statuette. But the members of the American Society of Cinematographers consider the nominations for this highest accolade to be as important as the Award itself, and it is with that thought in mind that the membership of ASC salutes with pride the following Directors of Photography who received nominations in the category of "Best Achievement in Cinematography" for the Academy's 45th Annual Awards Presentation:
JACK CO UFFER, ASC
"Jonathan Livingston Seagull"
SVEN NYKVIST, ASC
"Cries and Whispers"
ROBERT SURTEES, ASC
HARRY STRADLING, JR., ASC
"The Way We Were"
"JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL"-photographed by Jack Couffer, ASC, is the story of a maverick seagull who battles tradition and the taboos of his peers to approach perfection and become free. Adapted from the best-selling short novel by Robert Bach, the film version depends upon lyrical visual images to put across its metaphysical theme. …