The Shadowcatchers: A history of cinematography in Australia

26 March, 2012 by IF

Press release from DMCPRMEDIA

Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush and Naomi Watts are some of our most famous exports. However we also have top notch directors, costume designers, art directors and an incredible five Academy Award winning Australian cinematographers in our vibrant film industry.


The unique nature of our cinematographers is captured beautifully in The Shadowcatchers, a pictorial history of Australian film through the lens of the camera. It is an insider’s view of the creative and passionate people who have driven Australian film-making from its earliest days from 1900 all the way to Beautiful Kate, Sanctum (the first live action 3D feature shot in Australia) and the high-rating Underbelly Razor. We get to see what actually happens behind the camera; the highs and lows, the dangers, the commitment and hard work, the inventiveness, the relationships with the directors, cast and crew and what it takes to get the shot. Along with the photographs is a well-researched and readable historical text with personal anecdotes from the great characters of the Australian film industry. It recounts the customs, attitudes and relationships as well as the tremendous social and technological changes of the past 110 years.

Cinematographers are responsible for the unique look and feel of a film utilising the equipment and technology available to them – interpreting and realising the vision of the director. Notable Australian cinematographers covered in The Shadowcatchers include early battlers like the Burnes’ (father Al and sons George and Len), Academy Award winners such as Dean Semler, Ruddell Boyd and John Seale, war correspondents Damien Parer and Neil Davis, and famed Movietone newsreel cameraman Bill Trerise.

A magnificent production with over 380 evocative and carefully chosen photographs, The Shadowcatchers highlights the triumphs and challenges of the resilient and entrepreneurial men and women behind the camera with many memorable and familiar moments along the way.