Magazine article American Cinematographer

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Magazine article American Cinematographer

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Article excerpt

Ross Berryman, ASC, ACS

When you were a child, what film made the strongest impression on you?

Seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) on the huge Cinerama screen was an unforgettable experience. It left me thinking about its content long after I left the cinema; it's a film of great power and mystery that I still find intriguing and mystifying every time I view it.

Which cinematographers, past or present, do you most admire?

There are so many. To name a few: ASC members Freddie Young, Jack Cardiff, Nestor Almendros, Vittorio Storaro, Gordon Willis, Conrad Hall, Jordan Cronenweth, Dante Spinotti and Roger Deakins.

What sparked your interest in photography?

My father was an avid photographer, and that influenced me a lot; he was very supportive. Plus, I have always had an interest in the arts.

Where did you train and/or study?

I grew up in Melbourne, Australia, where there was a very prolific company called Crawford Productions that produced dramas for Australian television. I was lucky enough to be a part of that and ended up staying there for eight years. All the crews were very young, and it truly was a great training ground, with lots of camaraderie as well as hard work. They provided opportunities for so many people in the growing film industry 'down under.'

Who were your early teachers and/or mentors?

The many cameramen at Crawford Productions that I assisted: David Eggby, ACS; Barry Wilson; Vincent Monton; and Dan Burstall, among others.

What are some of your key artistic influences?

I've always found the paintings of Rembrandt, Vermeer and the French Impressionists fascinating. Also, I've spent countless hours watching classic movies. I've revisited the films of John Ford, David Lean and Stanley Kubrick many times.

How did you get your first break in the business?

I was lucky to start as a trainee at Crawford Productions as soon as I left school. I eventually found my way onto a camera crew, where I knew I belonged. I worked my way up to camera assistant and had been doing that for a while when one of their key cameramen left and I was suddenly promoted to that position. So, at the age of 21,1 became a lighting cameraman on a successful television drama, Matlock Police. Color didn't come to Australian TV until 1975, and it was one of the last black-and-white shows to be produced. …

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