With dir Ang Lee [left] - "The Ice Storm" [1996]

[Right] with dir Charlie Kaufman

"Synecdoche, New York" [2007]

               

 FREDERICK ELMES   ASC

Born: 4 November 1946, Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, USA. A.k.a. Fred Elmes.

Education: Rochester Institute of Technology [Fine Art Photography]; American Film Institute [AFI], Los Angeles [graduated in 1972]; Graduate Film Program at New York University's Department of Film and Television [NYU] [MA in 1975].

Career: At the AFI he started his collaboration with fellow student David Lynch on the film 'Eraserhead'. Ph student and educational films.

Ph numerous commercials dir by Paul Meijer, Michael Haussman, Walter Kehr, Anthony Atanasio, Barry Sonnenfeld, Ang Lee, David Lynch, a.o.

Active member of the ASC since December 1993.

Conducted a workshop for Grad Film cinematography students at NYU in 2009.

Appeared in the doc's 'Jonathan Ross Presents for One Week Only: David Lynch' [1990, Andy Harries], 'Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography' [1991] & 'Mysteries of Love' [2002, Jeffrey Schwarz; ph: Eric Brubaker].

Awards: Independent Spirit Award nom [1987], BSFC Award [1987] & NSFC Award [1987] for 'Blue Velvet'; Independent Spirit Award [1991] for 'Wild at Heart'; Independent Spirit Award [1993] for 'Night on Earth'; Hawaii IFF 'Excellence in Cinematography Award' [1996]; 'Emmy' Award nom [1997] for 'In the Gloaming'; WorldFest Houston 'Gold Special Jury Award' [1997] for 'The Empty Mirror'; Camerimage Special Award 'Best Duo' [2000; shared with David Lynch].

Website: Fred Elmes


'Shooting a feature film takes a lot out of you. It requires a lot of thought and a certain amount of physical endurance. It takes time to recharge. That's where it helps to shoot commercials. Commercials are short term commitments that enable me to be more selective about features. They are also fun to shoot. It's an opportunity to work with a lot of different directors who have fresh ideas. You can experiment more freely. […] I shot a Mazda commercial in Europe. A man is driving at night on a lonely dark road. You see only his close-up and his point of view of the road. He's nodding off. An animal dashes in front of the car. He swerves. He nods off again. The man awakens and swerves to avoid a truck. Is he going to crash? The tension builds. The car rolls to a stop and the front bumper taps against a phone pole. He backs up, drives forward and taps the pole harder. He backs up again, and the third time he rams into the pole. That activates an airbag in the car, which he uses as a pillow while he naps. The tagline is 'airbags save lives.' That's a good example of a one-minute story with a beginning, middle and ending. Commercials like that one are packed with visual information. You can compress the story and the audience will still follow the logic. These techniques, eventually, carry into features, but commercials and [music] videos are much more experimental. Sometimes it takes years for ideas you routinely use in commercials or videos to filter into features. I shot a Guinness Beer commercial in England, with Michael Haussman, an American director who lives there. We were creating a Salvador Dali world. We shot tests on our pre-lit stage and took them into telecine. We had a couple of hours of play-time to find the look. We tried some really complicated approaches, such as laying off one pass of the negative in black and white and another pass in color, a third with a bit of diffusion, and combining them in different ways. It pays to experiment before you shoot.' [From interview with Bob Fisher in 'International Photographer', 1996.]



 FILMS

1970

Street Scenes/Street Scenes 1970 [Fred Elmes, Oliver Stone, Don Lenzer, a.o.; prod superv: Martin Scorsese] b&w-c; doc/75m; cph: Don Lenzer, Oliver Stone, Fred Hadley, Arnold Klein, a.o.

1972

Eraserhead [David Lynch] b&w; cph: Herbert Cardwell (started the film); + sfx ph; it took 4 years (1972-76) to make the film, which was mostly shot at night; released in 1977; co-prod AFI

1974

The Amputee [David Lynch] b&w; short/5m; cph: Herbert Cardwell

1976

Number One [Dyan Cannon] v-to-35mm/b&w; short/42m; + co-ed; prod AFI

1976

Young Lady Chatterley/Naked Young Lady [Alan Roberts] c; co-2uc; ph: Bob Brownell

1977

Breakfast in Bed [William Haugse] 16mm/c; short/56m

1978

The Flight of the Gossamer Condor [Jacqueline Phillips Shedd & Ben Shedd] c; doc/27m; co-addph; ph: J. Phillips Shedd & Boyd Estus

1978

Real Life [Albert Brooks] c; addph; ph: Eric Saarinen

1982

Valley Girl/Bad Boyz/Rebel Dreams [Martha Coolidge] c; 2uc: Don Cirillo

1982

Citizen: The Political Life of Allard K. Lowenstein [Julie Thompson] 16mm/c; doc/72m

1983

Dune [David Lynch] c; co-addph (+ 2ud); ph: Freddie Francis

1983

Red Dawn [John Milius] c; 2uc; ph: Ric Waite

1985

Real Genius [Martha Coolidge] cs/c; 2uc; ph: Vilmos Zsigmond

1985

Broken Rainbow [Victoria Mudd] c; doc/69m; cph: Baird Bryant, Joan Weidman, Michael Anderson, a.o.

1985

Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold [Gary Nelson] J-D-C Scope/c; ph Los Angeles; ph: Alex Phillips

1985

Blue Velvet [David Lynch] J-D-C Scope/c

1986

Heaven [Diane Keaton] c; doc/88m; cph: Joe Kelly; filmed January-October

1986

River's Edge [Tim Hunter] c

1986

Aria [seg #7 'Tristan und Isolde: Liebestod' dir by Franc Roddam] b&w-c; filmed July 1986-March 1987

1987

Permanent Record [Marisa Silver] c

1987

Moonwalker [anthology seg dir by Jerry Kramer] c; cph: Tom Ackerman, Bob Collins & Crescenzo Notarile; seg 'Smooth Criminal' ph by John Hora; filmed February 1987-May 1988

1989

Cold Dog Soup [Alan Metter] c

1989

Wild at Heart [David Lynch] p/c

1989

Hollywood Mavericks [Todd McCarthy & Michael Henry Wilson] 16mm/c; doc/90m; cph: John Bailey, Peter S. Rosen, Steve Baum, Mead Hunt, a.o.

[Left] - "Night on Earth"

1991

Night on Earth [Jim Jarmusch] c

1991

Duke Ellington - Reminiscing in Tempo [Robert Levi] b&w-c; doc/87m; cph: Brian Clery, Ed Marritz, Neil Reichline, R. Levi, a.o.; premiered on PBS-tv series 'American Experience'

1992

The Saint of Fort Washington [Tim Hunter] c

1992

Coffee and Cigarettes III/Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere in California [Jim Jarmusch] b&w; short/12m; ed into 'Coffee and Cigarettes' (see 2003)

1993

Trial by Jury [Heywood Gould] c

1994

Reckless [Norman René] c

1995

The Empty Mirror/A. Hitler [Barry Hershey] c; 118m; 2uc: Tom Houghton; the director's cut (105m) is titled 'A. Hitler'

1996

The Ice Storm [Ang Lee] c; 2uc: Frank Prinzi

1997

The Object of My Affection [Nicholas Hytner] c; uncred addph; ph: Oliver Stapleton

1998

Ride with the Devil [Ang Lee] J-D-C Scope/c; 2uc: Michael Benson

1999

Chain of Fools [Traktor (= Pontus Löwenhielm & Patrick von Krusenstjerna)] Hawk Scope/c

2000

Chosen [Ang Lee] p/c; short/7m; promotional film for carmaker BMW; ep of 5-part internet film series 'The Hire'

2000

Storytelling [Todd Solondz] c; 2 seg ('Fiction' & 'Non-Fiction'); ph video seg: Dylan Verrechia

2001

Trapped/24 Hours [Luis Mandoki] c; cph: Piotr Sobocinski; 2uc: Eduardo Martínez Solares; replaced ph P. Sobocinski, who died on 26 March 2001 in Vancouver, Canada

2001

Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet [seg 'Int. Trailer Night' dir by Jim Jarmusch] b&w-c; 7 seg + links; other ph: Phedon Papamichael, Timo Salminen, Ángel Luis Fernández, Shu Yang, a.o.

[Left] with dir Ang Lee [2nd from the right] and actress Jennifer Connelly - "Hulk" - photo by Peter Sorel

2002

Hulk [Ang Lee] c; aph: Hans Bjerno; vfx ph: Eric Swenson & Martin Rosenberg

2003

Coffee and Cigarettes [Jim Jarmusch] b&w; 96m; cph: Tom DiCillo (1986), Robby Müller (1989) & Ellen Kuras; ed from 3 'Coffee and Cigarettes'-films (1986, 1989 & 1992) and other shorts

2003

Kinsey [Bill Condon] J-D-C Scope/c

[Right] with dir Jim Jarmusch - "Broken Flowers"

2004

Broken Flowers [Jim Jarmusch] 16mm+35mm-to-35mm/c

2005

The Namesake [Mira Nair] c; 2uc: Jay Jay Odedra

2006

A Dog Year [George LaVoo] c; addph: Clay Westervelt

2007

Synecdoche, New York [Charlie Kaufman] s35/c; 2uc: David M. Dunlap

2007

Brothers [Jim Sheridan] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Michael Lohmann

2008

Bride Wars [Gary Winick] c; 2uc: David M. Dunlap

2010

Transfer at Aachen [Paul Warner] pre-production; scheduled to start shooting in August; later in 2014

2011

A Late Quartet [Yaron Zilberman] HD (ARRI ALEXA/Hawk Scope)-to-Hawk Scope (+ D-Cinema)/c

2012

Horns [Alexandre Aja] HD (ARRI ALEXA Plus/Hawk Scope & Studio/Hawk Scope)-to-D-Cinema/c; aph: Hans Bjerno; uwph: Peter Zuccarini


 TELEVISION

1986

Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8 [Jeremy Paul Kagan] tvm

1988

Les Français vu par/The French as Seen by... [seg (22m) 'The Cowboy and the Frenchman' dir by David Lynch] 5-part series

1988

Roughhouse/House and Home [Martha Coolidge] pilot/30m for CBS-tv series 'Summer Playhouse'

1988

The Louie Anderson Show [Anthony Eaton] stand-up comedy perf/60m

1988

The Closed Set [Mollie Miller] tvm/60m; ep 6-part PBS-tv series 'Tales from the Hollywood Hills'

1989

The Judds: Across the Heartland [Bud Schaetzle] mus special/60m; ph concert seq; ph doc seq: Candy Gonzalez; for CBS-tv

1993

Laurel Canyon [Tim Hunter] pilot

1996

In the Gloaming [Christopher Reeve] tvm/67m

1997

The Wedding [Charles Burnett] 2-part tvm

2013

Olive Kitteridge [Lisa Cholodenko] 4-part miniseries/35mm-to-HD


 FILMS AS CAMERA ASSISTANT/OPERATOR

1972

Invasion of the Blood Farmers [Ed Adlum] c.asst; ph: Frederick Douglass

1974

A Woman Under the Influence [John Cassavetes] co-c.asst (left prod early on); ph (in charge of lighting): Mitchell Breit; film was started by ph Caleb Deschanel

1975

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie [John Cassavetes] co-c.op; ph (lighting superv): Mitchell Breit

1976

Opening Night [John Cassavetes] co-c.op; ph: Al Ruban

1977

A Secret Space [Roberta Hodes] c.asst; ph: Fred Aronow

1978

A Force of One [Paul Aaron] co-c.op; ph: Roger Shearman

1980

Modern Romance [Albert Brooks] c.op; ph: Eric Saarinen

1981

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan [Nicholas Meyer] co-c.op; ph: Gayne Rescher