Magazine article American Cinematographer

Close-Up: Kenneth Zunder, ASC

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Close-Up: Kenneth Zunder, ASC

Article excerpt

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

Lawrence of Arabia [1962]. I was 11 years old and witnessed an epic.

Which cinematographers, past or present do you most admire?

Bob Richardson [ASC], for his screaming-hot toplight in JFK; Conrad Hall [ASC], for making a movie about chess so damn interesting; Phil Lathrop [ASC], for allowing me to learn firsthand the importance of being a gentleman; and Robert Liu [ASC], for his positive energy and spirit.

What sparked your interest in photography?

I took a class in college called Art and Visual Perception taught by Rudolf Arnheim, who wrote the great book Film as Art.

Where did you train and/or study?

I studied art history at Harvard and documentary film at Stanford.

Who were your early teachers or mentors?

[ASC members] Phil Lathrop, Tom Del Ruth, Robert Liu and Bill Butler.

What are some of your key artistic influences?

Dziga Vertov's early Russian film Man with a Movie Camera showed me the importance of placing the camera in just the right spot. Raising Arizona showed me that lenses can be funny. Also, the brilliant, unobtrusive cinematography by Roger Deakins [ASC, BSC] in The Shawshank Redemption and Emmanuel Lubezki [ASC, AMC] in A Little Princess.

How did you get your first break in the business?

In 1978,1 was lucky enough to be in one of the few camera-training programs run by Camera Local 659 and the AMPTP.

What has been your most satisfying moment on a project?

Back in the day when we shot film, there would be that moment when you took a chance, lost some sleep and were pleasantly surprised the next morning at the lab. …

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