Harris Savides, who was widely considered one of the most influential contemporary cinematographers, earning acclaim for his canny visual sensibility on such films as "Zodiac" and "Milk," died Wednesday. He was 55.
The Skouras Agency confirmed the New York-based cinematographer's death but released no other details.
"If you were looking for a cinematographer with both sizzle and substance, you couldn't find a more adept visual stylist than Harris Savides," Patrick Goldstein wrote in The Times in 2007.
Van Sant considered him a "constant collaborator," making such movies with Savides as "Finding Forrester" (2000) "Elephant" (2003), "Last Days" (2005) and "Milk" (2008).
Savides was often praised for a photographic style that captured a hazy, soft naturalism and was reminiscent of the imagery of the 1970s.
In 2007, he shot a trio of striking films,
It was a tribute to Savides' visual technique that "Gangster" and "Zodiac" were set in exactly the same time period but couldn't look more different, Goldstein wrote.
For "Zodiac" Savides drew from unadorned photos of '70s Americana while "Gangster" was inspired by the gritty stylization of such 1970s
"His interests are much more in how the story needs to be told," Fincher told Variety in 2008. "He is now less of a photographer — he's forgotten more than most people know about technique — and a coauthor of a film's mis-en-scene."
Used to working with auteurs, Savides was "adept at crawling into a director's personal style and enhancing it from the inside," Back Stage magazine said last year.
The cinematographer downplayed any notion that he had a style of his own that he brought to each project. "Directors tell me what they want and I'll try to figure it out. I don't want to ever come to the table with my preconceived notions," he said in 2008 in Interview magazine. "You shouldn't see the photography in the film."
Born Sept. 28, 1957, in
He started out in fashion photography but didn't like the lack of control, he later said, so started making commercials and music videos with directors such as
Savides' other feature film credits include
More recently, he shot two films that captured life and light in Los Angeles, Baumbach's
"I don't want to repeat myself," Savides told Variety in 2009. "I have a real issue with that. You shouldn't be seeing me. You should be seeing the film."
Information on survivors was not immediately available.