6. Robert RodriguezWhen you write a book titled “Rebel Without a Crew”, it’s pretty clear you’re comfortable doing everything on the film set yourself, and Robert Rodriguez has been writing, directing, editing and photographing his own movies for years. The director of “El Mariachi”, “The Faculty”, “Desperado”, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” and “Sin City”, Rodriguez has proven you can do just about every job on a film set and can create quality films at the same time.
Rodriguez was one of the first filmmakers in the industry to abandon shooting on film, going totally digital. He also convinced his good friend and frequent collaborator Quentin Tarantino to try his hand at being a cinematographer for “Grindhouse”, released in 2007. Tarantino directed and photographed his film “Death Proof” for the movie.
7. Steven Soderbergh
When his his first film “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” was released in 1989, the young 26-year-old Steven Soderbergh became an overnight success, and many hail that film as the first movie to usher in the indie film movement of the 90s. Soderbergh has done everything from low-budget films like “Kafka” to big-budget movies with a star-studded cast like “Ocean’s Eleven” and its subsequent franchise.
While many know him as director, he has served as cinematographer on most of his films, from “Traffic” for which he won an Oscar for Best Director, the photography for all the ‘Ocean’ films, and the epic four movie “Che”, starring Benicio Del Toro, which chronicles the life of revolutionary figure Che Guevara.
8. Wally Pfister
Best known for his frequent collaboration with director Christopher Nolan, working as his go-to cinematographer, Wally Pfister has made a name for himself as one of the best cinematographers working in the business today.
Currently Pfister has given up shooting other director’s films these days, embarking on a career as a director himself. His debut film “Transcendence”, released in 2014 and starring Johnny Depp, was an ambitious science fiction drama that had a distinctive visual style, one that’s different from the films he shot for Nolan, solidifying himself as director to watch in the future.
9. Paul Thomas Anderson
With films like “Boogie Nights” and “There Will Be Blood”, many consider Anderson to be one of the greatest directors of the Generation X era. His films possess a unique intimacy and always appear to be epic in scope, as he details the universal struggles of everyday life.
In his latest film, which will be Daniel Day-Lewis’ last film before he retires from acting, Anderson will serve as his own DP on the project. After years of collaborating with cinematographer Robert Elswit and his talent for creating great movies, Anderson’s stint as a DP is bound to be impressive.
10. Reed Morano
Brooklyn-based DP Reed Morano has made a name for herself in the world of cinematography, becoming the youngest member of the American Society of Cinematographers when she joined the organization in 2013. In her debut feature “Meadowland”, released in 2015, she worked as both director and DP on the film, and her work on the TV series “Vinyl” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” proves she’s comfortable wearing both hats as well.
With her upcoming feature “I Think We’re Alone Now”, slated for release in 2018, it looks Morano will not be hanging up the light meter any time soon as she starts making a name for herself as a director in the film industry.