I just saw that that one of my favorite cinematographers, new Hollywood legend Michael Chapman, passed away a couple of days ago. He was the camera operator on Jaws, DOP on Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail (probably the film that means the most to me), and the two of Scorsese’s very best works, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. He had a great eye for street-level reality but could easily switch gears, transitioning into heavily stylized lighting, unorthodox framing and camera speeds without the overall work becoming a jarring mess.
He also made memorable contributions to Hardcore, The Fugitive, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Personal Best, and memorable comedies like Quick Change and the noir pastiche Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. Just an unreal, versatile talent behind so many iconic features.
Revisiting the way the cab emerges out the fog at the beginning of his first Scorsese collaboration still puts shivers down my spine. Menacing, beautiful, and completely timeless.