Painting with Light

Painting with Light

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) John Alton, Introduction by Todd McCarthy

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Paperback $31.46
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Format: Paperback | 191 pages
  • Dimensions: 190mm x 254mm x 16mm | 481g
  • Publication date: 18 May 1995
  • Publication City/Country: Berkerley
  • ISBN 10: 0520089499
  • ISBN 13: 9780520089495
  • Illustrations note: 290 b&w photographs
  • Sales rank: 99,085

Product description

Few cinematographers have had as decisive an impact on the cinematic medium as John Alton. Best known for his highly stylized film noir classics "T-Men", "He Walked by Night", and "The Big Combo", Alton earned a reputation during the 1940s and 1950s as one of Hollywood's consummate craftsmen through his visual signature of crisp shadows and sculpted beams of light. No less renowned for his virtuoso color cinematography and deft appropriation of widescreen and Technicolor, he earned an Academy Award in 1951 for his work on the musical "An American in Paris". First published in 1949, and long out of print since then, "Painting With Light" remains one of the few truly canonical statements on the art of motion picture photography, an unrivalled historical document on the workings of the postwar, American cinema. In simple, non-technical language, Alton explains the job of the cinematographer and explores how lighting, camera techniques, and choice of locations determine the visual mood of film. Todd McCarthy's introduction, written especially for this edition, provides an overview of Alton's biography and career and explores the influence of his work on contemporary cinematography.

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Author information

John Alton (born 1901) was one of the most renowned cinematographers of the postwar American cinema. In 1951 he won an Academy Award for his color photography of An American in Paris. He lives in Los Angeles. Todd McCarthy is chief film critic of Variety, co-editor of the King of Bs (1975), and writer and co-director of the award winning documentary, Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1992).

Customer reviews

By sharon Lear 28 Jul 2011 5

...and a masterclass. Years on and still learning from the great John Alton. This book is a must for any film makers bookshelf.

Karl Lear - Director, RedYeti Films Ltd

Back cover copy

Painting with Light remains one of the few truly canonical statements on the art of motion-picture photography, an unrivaled historical document on the workings of postwar American cinema. In simple, nontechnical language. Alton explains the job of the cinematographer and explores how lighting, camera techniques, and choice of location determine the visual mood of film.