Angénieux and DPs
Always in the center of Angénieux’s approach
The cinematographer’s profession is the oldest in the world of cinema. As the French director of photography Louis Page wrote: “He was cinema all by himself for a long time.” The first amongst them, the cameramen of the Lumi.re brothers, were globetrotters in pursuit of images as early as 1895, travelling the world to film newsworthy events and record scenes of war. In addition to filming, they handled the developing, printing and projection of the material. The Lumi.re camera, a simple wooden box with a jerky cranking system and a single lens, also worked as a projector when placed before a lamp. This was soon followed by other models, including the first Pathé camera (with a Voigtlander Heliar 51mm f/4.5 lens) in 1897 and the British Prestwich in 1898. It was not until a decade later that the foundations of a cinema industry were laid with companies like Pathé, Gaumont, and Éclair in France.
As well as the first production companies and their studios on the East Coast of the United States but also in Denmark, Germany and elsewhere, emerged where the different professions were to take shape gradually (directors, set designers and decorators, electricians and so on). The basic elements remained unchanged for years, however: a simple set, sometimes no more than a painted backdrop, receiving daylight through windows, sometimes shaded by awnings or blocked by black curtains, and the camera frontally filming a medium shot. According to Louis Forestier, who started at Gaumont in 1908, a cameraman was asked to do little more than produce a light, clear image and keep the actors in the frame. Operating a camera was regarded for a long time as just turning a handle and the first articles to appear in the specialized press were confined to anecdotes about accidents while filming and cunning tricks.
“The cameraman stands at the natural confluence of the two main streams of activity in the production of a film: where the imagination meets the reality of the film process.”
Freddie A. Young, Director and cinematographer, born in London in 1902
Angénieux, as a leading manufacturer of cinema optics, always entertained a strong relationship with its final user, the cinematographer. Since the Cannes Film Festival did not have an event to celebrate the profession already, the Pierre Angénieux Tribute was created in 2013 by Angénieux. It aims to put a Director of Photography in the Spotlight, for his or her international career, the quality of his/her work, the diversity of the movies created, with a high importance given to the human qualities of the laureate. Then a price wearing the name of an inventor such as Pierre Angénieux, whose lifework had been dedicated to cinema lenses, recognizes every year the lifetime achievements of a cinematographer is the best way to celebrate the profession.
Angénieux works on the future of cinematography, and by doing so, it is important for the brand to support the next generation of cinematographer. Workshop and financial support is offered by the brand to students and film schools around the world. And, since 2018, the Angénieux Special Encouragement is awarded to a young cinematographer, whose early work shows exceptional qualities, both technically and artistically.