Russell Paul Carpenter, ASC (born December 9, 1950) is an American cinematographer and photographer. He shot the 1997 Best Picture-winning film Titanic, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Much of his work as director of photography has been in iconic blockbuster films, including: True Lies, Ant-man, XXX: Return of Xander Cage, This Means War, Monster-in-Law, Charlie's Angels (2000), its sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, and many more. In addition, some of his work has been in independent and genre cinema with films, including: Parched, Critters 2: The Main Course, The Lawnmower Man, and Hard Target.
Russell Paul Carpenter
December 9, 1950
|Other names||Russ Carpenter|
|Spouse(s)||Donna Ellen Conrad|
|Awards||Academy Award for Best Cinematography|
Early life and education
The grandson of a film sound engineer, Carpenter was born in Van Nuys, California in 1950 to a family of six. After his parents divorced in 1960, he moved with his mother and 4 siblings to Orange County, where he took up Super 8 films as a hobby. He enrolled in San Diego State University to study television directing, but later changed his major to English. To pay for school, he worked at a local public broadcasting channel, where he learned the ropes of documentary filmmaking. After graduating, he moved back to Orange County, where he shot educational films and documentaries.
Upon relocating to Los Angeles, Carpenter worked as a director of photography on numerous low-budget horror films like Sole Survivor and Cameron's Closet. In 1983, he shot The Wizard of Speed and Time, a special effects-laden experimental film directed by animator Mike Jittlov. Due to difficulties arising in financing and distribution, the film was not released until 1989. His first major studio film was Critters 2: The Main Course, written and directed by Mick Garris. The Los Angeles Times criticized the film but praised Carpenter's cinematography. Two years later, he shot his first science fiction film, Solar Crisis, and his first action film with Death Warrant starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. After shooting several episodes of the television series The Wonder Years, he worked on The Lawnmower Man.
During the production of the John Woo-directed action film Hard Target, Russell Carpenter and James Cameron met at the home of Edward Furlong, during his 15th birthday party. Russell was the DP for Furlong's movie Pet Semetary 2. leading to the two collaborating on the 1994 Arnold Schwarzenegger action comedy True Lies, Carpenter replaced Cameron's previous director of photography Adam Greenberg. Their following collaboration, Titanic, earned Carpenter both an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and an ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases.
Carpenter is most widely known for his early work in horror and genre cinema and for his collaborations with directors James Cameron, McG, and Robert Luketic. His first major project as Director of Photography was the 1988 horror-comedy Critters 2: The Main Course.
His work on the 1997 film Titanic earned him an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, an ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases, a nomination for a BAFTA Award, as well as numerous other accolades.
Carpenter is married to Donna Ellen Conrad and has one son, Graham (from a former marriage), a stepson Zak Selbert, daughter-in-law Gaudia Correia, and two granddaughters.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
Additional photography credit
|1986||Critters||Stephen Herek||Tim Suhrstedt||Additional photography|
|1988||Lucky Stiff||Anthony Perkins||Jacques Haitkin|
|A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master||Renny Harlin||Steven Fierberg|
|1989||Puppet Master||David Schmoeller||Sergio Salvati|
|A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child||Stephen Hopkins||Peter Levy||Second unit photography|
|Pet Sematary||Mary Lambert||Peter Stein||Additional photography|
|2003||The Human Stain||Robert Benton||Jean-Yves Escoffier|
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- Staff, Hollywood.com (2015-02-06). "Russell Carpenter | Biography and Filmography | 1950". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
- "C.Q. | The Photography of Russell Carpenter | Roni Keller". Cultural Weekly. 2013-01-10. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
- "Titanic's Cinematographer Russell Carpenter - MovieMaker Magazine". MovieMaker Magazine. 1998-07-02. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
- "True Luminaries: Russell Carpenter - page 3". theasc.com. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
- "Russell Carpenter". IMDb.com. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
- "Canon DLC: Bio: Russell Carpenter, ASC". www.learn.usa.canon.com. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
- "Mike Jittlov's "The Wizard of Speed and Time": His Life's A Special Effect!". nightflight.com. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
- WILMINGTON, MICHAEL (1988-04-29). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Critters 2": Once More With Even Less Taste". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
- "Russell Carpenter To Receive ASC Lifetime Achievement Award". Shoot. October 5, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- Geoff Boucher (November 14, 2018). "James Cameron: The 'Avatar' Sequels Have Wrapped Production". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 14, 2018.