Women Behind the Camera
Dixon, Wheeler Winston. “Book Review”, Film Quarterly, Vol.52 No.2, Winter 1998-99.
Krasilovsky, Alexis. Women Behind the Camera: Conversations with Camerawomen. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997. $59.95 cloth; $22.95 paper.
Krasilovsky, a professor at California State University, Northridge, has written an excellent book covering the lives and works of 23 working camerawomen who function primarily within the Hollywood industry as either full-fledged Directors of Photography or camera operators, although some independent cinematographers are also included. Among those interviewed are veteran Brianne Murphy, ASC, one of the pioneers of women’s rights within the industry, who relates how she climbed from grade “Z” exploitation pictures into the ranks of the major studios; Dyanna Taylor, granddaughter of the great still photographer Dorothea Lange, who has worked as a n operator or DP on such films as Married to the Mob and Over Her Dead Body; Sabrina Simmons, one of the few African-American women within the industry, who worked as an operator on Clint Eastwood’s Bird and Ron Shelton’s White Men Can’t Jump, among other projects; Liz Bailey, who worked as an operator or DP on numerous commercials, industrials, and television shows before making the jump to features as an operator on the highly successful Independence Day; and Judy Irola, ASC, who served as Director of Photography on Percy Adlon’s art-house hit Bagdad Café.
There are a few important camerawomen missing here, notably DP Lisa Rinzler, who started shooting the feature Bad Girls only to be kicked off the project (along with director Tamra Davis) for making the film “too realistic.” But on the whole, this volume is an excellent overview of trials and triumphs of these gifted artist/technicians. Recommended for all serious collections on cinema studies, and for women’s studies programs as well.