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Jordan Cronenweth

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True Designation:
Jordan Scott Cronenweth

Incept Date:
20 Feb 1935

Incept Location:
Los Angeles, California, USA

Retirement from life:
29 Nov 1996

Retirement Location:
Los Angeles, California, USA

If you are interested in Cronenweth's work on Blade Runner, then you really want to read
this article reproduced from the July 1992 American Cinematographer Magazine.

Jordan Cronenweth was an accomplished director of photography. In Blade Runner, he was being directed by someone who understood cinematography very well, but Cronenweth's skills should not be underestimated when viewing this film. The lighting in particular is very much down to his artistry. Here is an excerpt from the article listed above:

Cronenweth is particularly emphatic about backlight and contrast. "I can never use enough backlighting," he says. "It's just that some directors want to see the actors' faces. I keep telling them that the audience only goes to see the sex." The cinematographer is as interested in creating mood or an effect as he is in lighting an actor's face. He tends to use soft frontlight with a hard backlight, although, he adds, "I love hard light in the face if it is overexposed. I think that's beautiful. It's different; it's unusual. It's exciting; it's violent.

"Blade Runner is a piece that calls for extremes. It's naturally a wonderful vehicle for this kind of lighting. It's theatrical, but it will be very real in the film. In this film, I think you'll just accept it. It transcends theatricality."

Jordan Cronenweth brought his particular style of photography to many films like The Front Page, and Altered States before he got to Blade Runner, and Peggy Sue Got Married and State of Grace afterwards, and his last film, Final Analysis. Not to mention working with Talking Heads on Stop Making Sense and U2 on U2: Rattle and Hum.

Jordan contracted Parkinson's Disease which finally took him in 1996. One of his sons, Jeff Cronenweth, followed in his father's footsteps - first working on the sets with his father on a number of films (e.g. Peggy Sue in 1986 as second assistant camera), before studying cinematography himself. He got his really big break as cinematographer on Fight Club and has recently filmed Harrison Ford in K-19: The Widowmaker.


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