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Lawrence Sher
Born February 4, 1970
Teaneck, New Jersey

Lawrence Sher (born February 4, 1970) is an American film and television cinematographer and producer, who has worked on such films as Garden State and The Hangover.

Life and career

Sher was born and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey, where he attended and graduated from Teaneck High School. His father Paul had been a doctor at New York University Medical Center, while his mother, Joan, was a teacher at taught at the Queens-based Lexington School for the Deaf. It was on a high school-sponsored trip to Paris that Sher first developed a love for photography, after his father convinced him to take a 35mm camera along with him on the trip. Sher has maintained his connections to Teaneck, staying in the basement of his aunt's home there during the filming of Garden State, where he was able to use love of his home state to make location shots there make it appear as what The Record described as a "verdant wonderland". He expressed great pride for his hometown of Teaneck and its diversity, recalling how he "spent a lot of time with an eclectic group of people. There's nothing homogenized about Teaneck even though you're in the middle of suburban New Jersey."[1]

He attended Wesleyan University, where he had initially planned to pursue the career in medicine followed by his identical twin brother Andy, who later became a urologist. After taking a course on film history, Sher developed an immediate interest in cinema, recalling that "All I wanted to do was spend every waking moment learning about movies and cinematography". He decided on majoring in economics and graduated from Wesleyan in 1992.[1]

He moved to Los Angeles after graduating from college and immediately pursued a career in motion pictures, starting as a gofer on a video shoot and an assistant on commercials before working his way up to cinematographer. Sher's first major release was the 2001 film Kissing Jessica Stein and achieved critical success with the 2004 movie Garden State.[1] Duane Byrge of The Hollywood Reporter in his review from the 2004 Sundance Film Festival credited Sher's compositions with "pack[ing] insight into the character's psychological states".[2] He has also worked on 2007's Dan in Real Life starring Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche and the 2009 release I Love You, Man with Paul Rudd. While he aspires to direct, Sher states that he is in no rush as "I don't think I’ve fulfilled all of my goals as a cinematographer yet".[1]

As cinematographer of the 2009 film The Hangover, Sher described how a scene early in the movie shows the main characters on the roof of their hotel overlooking a stereotypical shot of the Las Vegas Strip, while he tried to show the behind-the-scenes Vegas after they wake up the following morning behind the hotels where the real action takes place. Actor Bradley Cooper credited Sher's visual style with enhancing the film's comedy, noting how Sher has "a great eye, a lot of energy and he just knows what's funny" and that "Some guys just can’t shoot comedies, but Larry knows exactly what he's doing."[1]

As of 2009, Sher lives in Los Angeles, California, together with his wife Jessica and their 3-year-old son, Max.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Longsdorf, Amy. "Cameraman always has eye on Jersey roots", The Record (Bergen County), June 1, 2009. Accessed June 2, 2009.
  2. ^ Byrge, Duane. "Garden State", The Hollywood Reporter, January 19, 2004. Accessed June 2, 2009.

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