David Watkin’s life has been an uncanny fusion of luck and intelligence, and at no stage has his progress been predictable. Born in 1925 in Margate, he developed an intense love of music and literature, yet he first encountered the world of work as a messenger boy and camera assistant at British Transport Films. He left the Documentary Movement for Feature films, via the new industry of TV commercials, and rapidly set new standards in the way films should look. Accompanying the Lifetime Achievement’s Award at Lodz in 2004 was a publication with tributes from fellow professionals, such as Laslo Kovacs, Roger Deakins, and Curtis Clark who, among others, described the impact made on them of his innovative cinematographic techniques. Above all, he is prepared to pursue a creativity of vision in the face of the conservative, accountant-led ethos of the Film Industry.
Rather than be determined by conventional career moves, he has been energised by his collaborations with the Great Originals described within, such as those with Tony Richardson, Peter Sellars, Franco Zeffirelli, Daniel Barenboim, Peter Brook and Terence Donovan, whose spirit and energy infuses his every day.
It is a Life filled with Delight –
in Learning and Wit
in equal measure.
The first volume, Why is there only one word for Thesaurus? (1998) began a chronicle of David’s long and creative life that this present work sustains and extends. ‘Was Clara Schumman a Fag-Hag?‘ was published just before his death in 2008.
Paperback: 564 pages
First Edition: 2008
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The two volumes of David Watkin’s autobiography are available for sale:
Why Is There Only One Word for Thesaurus?
Was Clara Schumann a Fag Hag? (An Autobiography mainly, but not entirely, about the Film Business)
Although essential parts from the earlier volume re-appear in Clara, to all intents and purposes, it is a new piece of work.
The books, (first editions), were produced by subscription.
Why is there only one word for Thesaurus?
Jim Ballantyne, FOCAL International Autumn 1998
“If you like a book that demystifies its profession this is the one for you. The well-known lighting cameraman is nothing if not opinionated but always engagingly so. A refreshing unfussiness characterises his approach to his work, whether he is discussing lighting a feature film, documentary, ad, play for theatre, or filming an opera. Throughout there is much about his love of classical music. It should be required reading for all cameramen and obligatory for film school students who want to learn about the haphazard nature of the film industry.”
Hardback: 350 pages
First Edition: 1998
The author’s green ink amends can be found in a couple of places – minor corrections he made after production!
Publisher: Beulah (Editions Audiovisuel)