From interview by

"The Vanishing" - photo by Thys Ockersen [1992]



Born: 25 July 1941, London, UK, as son of doph Wolfgang Suschitzky [29 August 1912-].

Education: IDHEC, Paris, France.

Career: Although music was his passion, he decided that cinematography would become his profession. 'At film school, the cinematographer-in-residence, Jean-Pierre Mundviller, had started work as a newsreel cameraman and then became a movie cinematographer in pre-revolution Russia. He'd been one of the cinematographers on 'Napoléon' [1925-26, Abel Gance]. He took me to the roof of the school building, where he'd had a hand-cranked camera installed. My first lesson on it consisted of him singing the marching song that French cameramen sang to keep a steady 18fps. He then proceeded to teach me how to make a fade in the camera and how to do a dissolve. To a very young student in the middle of the French New Wave, all that seemed to be a waste of time. However, those are the most treasured memories I have of the school, and the early lesson that I tended to dismiss as not being of any practical use made me think, years later, of our early, pioneering colleagues; because all effects were in-camera, they had to make decisions we are never obliged to make, such as choosing to stop a scene on a good take, winding the film back for a dissolve, and then taking the camera to the next location and going for the first take! It filled me with respect for the achievements of the silent era. Mundviller died only a few years after I studied with him, but contact with him made me feel I had touched the hand of someone who was present at the birth of the movies.' [From the ASC website.] After studying his trade in Paris he became a clapper boy at age 19 and a cameraman at 22.

Was a member of the BSC.

Ph numerous commercials dir by Douglas Hickox, Cliff Owen, Bob Brooks, Alan Parker, Ridley Scott, Brian Byfield [for Guinness], Terry Bedford, Paul Weiland, Giuseppe Tornatore, Roman Polanski, a.o.

Awards: BSC Award nom [1977] & BAFTA Film Award nom [1978] for 'Valentino'; 'Genie' Award [1989] for 'Dead Ringers'; NSFC Award [1991] for 'Where the Heart Is'; 'Genie' Award [1992] for 'Naked Lunch'; 'Genie' Award [1996] for 'Crash'; 'Genie' Award [2007] for 'Eastern Promises'; ICFF Manaki Brothers 'Life Achievement Award' [2009].

About his films with David Cronenberg: Stylistically, Peter chooses to operate the camera on every picture he creates with David. "The first time I met David he said to me that is the way he likes to work. I said fine, I'll do that too. I think at that time I had only operated on one or two small pictures. Since then I have operated on other pictures, but I don't do it as a matter of course. I prefer to do it on intimate movies - intense movies like his. I really prefer it because it is a part of my visual job to compose the picture. Although I could describe to an operator how to start and finish a shot, it is the part that is in-between that is totally uncontrollable. It makes me feel like the first viewer of the movie. It gives me a great thrill!" [From the Fujifilm website.]



It Happened Here [Kevin Brownlow & Andrew Mollo] b&w; addph (16mm): Kevin Brownlow; 'It Happened Here' was begun in 1956 as an amateur project on 16mm dir and ph by 18-year old asst film editor Kevin Brownlow. Andrew Mollo joined the project in 1957. Production continued intermittently between 1956 and 1962. Director Tony Richardson arranged for sufficient financing to complete the picture. The 16mm footage was blown-up to 35mm and the remainder of the film was ph on 35mm during a 40-day period between July 1962 and April 1963 by 22-year old Peter Suschitzky, who already had considerable experience as a doc cameraman. By May 1964 the 99 minute feature was finally ready.


Trinidad & Tobago [Geoffrey Jones] c; comm doc/19m; cph: Wolfgang Suschitzky; a BP Film


The Meeting [Mamoun Hassan] c; short/10m


Road to St. Tropez/La route de St. Tropez [Michael Sarne] ts/c; short/31m


Mister Lewis [Malcolm Craddock] b&w; short/17m


Creativity at School [James W. Roberts] 16mm/b&w; comm doc/30m


Blood Groups and Transfusion [A.E.C. Hopkins] c; comm doc/10m


Surface to Surface [Victor Menzies] c; comm doc/13m


Can I Help You [John Fletcher] b&w; comm doc/23m


The Beach [Malcolm Craddock] 16mm/b&w; short/20m


Privilege [Peter Watkins] c


The Christmas Tree [Jim Clark] b&w; short/59m


Giacometti [Michael Gill] b&w; doc/14m; cph: Ken Willicombe


Charlie Bubbles [Albert Finney] c; + small part


The Charge of the Light Brigade [Tony Richardson] p/c; 2uc; ph: David Watkin


A Midsummer Night's Dream [Peter Hall] c


A Touch of Love/Thank You All Very Much/The Millstone [Waris Hussein] c


Gladiatorerna/The Peace Game/The Gladiators [Peter Watkins] c


Leo the Last [John Boorman] c


Lock Up Your Daughters! [Peter Coe] c


Figures in a Landscape [Joseph Losey] p/c; cph: Henri Alekan; aph: Guy Tabary


Melody/S.W.A.L.K. [Waris Hussein] c


The Pied Piper [of Hamelin] [Jacques Demy] c


Henry VIII and His Six Wives [Waris Hussein] c


Inside the Third Reich [Andrew Birkin] unrealized; screen test with Donald Pleasence was shot; filmed in 1982 as tvm


That'll Be the Day [Claude Whatham & (uncred) Alan Parker] c


The Rocky Horror Picture Show [Jim Sharman] c


Lisztomania [Ken Russell] p/c


Valentino [Ken Russell] c

[Left] - "The Empire Strikes Back"

Photo by George Whitear


Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back/Star Wars - Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back [Irvin Kershner] p/c; studio 2uc (d: Harley Cokliss & John Barry): Chris Menges; loc 2uc (d: Peter MacDonald): Geoff Glover; 2uc: Howard Atherton; aph: Ron Goodman; spec vfx: Brian Johnson & Richard Edlund; efx ph: Dennis Muren; optical ph superv: Bruce Nicholson; matte ph: Stanley Sayer (cons), Neil Krepela & Michael Lawler (add); principal ph March-September 1979 (175 days)


Krull [Peter Yates] c; 2uc: Chic Anstiss; vfx ph: Paul Wilson; optical efx: Robin Browne, Jamie Harcourt, Malcolm Vinson, John Fletcher, a.o.


Falling in Love [Ulu Grosbard] c; addph: Ernie Miscelli; 2uc: Peter Norman


Howard the Duck/Howard... A New Breed of Hero [Willard Huyck] was offered to ph this film, but he turned it down (possibly the reason why he didn't ph another 'Star Wars'-film); prod was ph by Richard H. Kline (1985-86)


In extremis [Olivier Lorsac] c


Dead Ringers/Twins/Alter ego [David Cronenberg] c; when ph Mark Irwin was unavailable because of another commitment, Suschitzky replaced him


Where the Heart Is [John Boorman] c


Un homme et deux femmes/A Man and Two Women [Valérie Stroh] c


Naked Lunch [David Cronenberg] c; + c.op


The Public Eye [Howard Franklin] c

[Right] next to dir George Sluizer - "The Vanishing" - photo by Thys Ockersen


The Vanishing [George Sluizer] c; aph: Rex Metz


M. Butterfly [David Cronenberg] c


Immortal Beloved [Bernard Rose] p/c; uncred addph: Daryn Okada


Crash [David Cronenberg] c


Mars Attacks! [Tim Burton] p/c; stop motion ph: Eric Adkins; miniature ph: Patrick Sweeney


The Man in the Iron Mask [Randall Wallace] c; 2uc: Henri Habans


eXistenZ [David Cronenberg] c


Red Planet [Antony Hoffman] p/c; 2uc: Geoffrey Wharton; miniature ph: Gary Hutzel


Spider [David Cronenberg] c


Shopgirl [Anand Tucker] p/c; 2uc: Rob Sweeney; aph: David B. Nowell

[Background] with David Cronenberg - "A History of Violence"


A History of Violence [David Cronenberg] c


Le concile de pierre/The Stone Council [Guillaume Nicloux] s35/c


Eastern Promises [David Cronenberg] 35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c


A Dangerous Method [David Cronenberg] s35-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c


Cosmopolis [David Cronenberg] HD (ARRI ALEXA)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c

[Right] with M. Night Shyamalan - "After Earth"

Photo by Frank Masi


After Earth [M. Night Shyamalan] HD (Sony F65 + Canon EOS C500)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; aph: Phil Pastuhov


Maps to the Stars [David Cronenberg] HD (Sony F55)/c


Il racconto dei racconti/Tale of Tales [Matteo Garrone] HD (ARRI ALEXA XT)/c



The War Game [Peter Watkins] doc/b&w/46m; cph: Peter Bartlett; aired by BBC-tv in July 1985


Francis Bacon: Fragments of a Portrait [Michael Gill] doc/b&w/44m; for BBC-tv


All Creatures Great and Small [Claude Whatham] tvm


Fallen Angels [ep #2 'I'll Be Waiting' dir by Tom Hanks & #4 'The Frightening Frammis' dir by Tom Cruise] 15-part series, 1993 & 1995; 1st season, 1993; other ph: Emmanuel Lubezki (2 ep) & Declan Quinn (2 ep)



I Do - And I Understand [Derek Williams; comm doc] c.op; ph: Brian Probyn


George Harrison: Living in the Material World [Martin Scorsese; doc] co-c.op; ph: Robert Richardson & Martin Kenzie; filming started late 2007; premiered in 2-parts on HBO-tv (2011)