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Roger Deakins
Born Roger Antony Deakins
24 May 1949 (1949-05-24) (age 60)
Torquay, Devon, England
Occupation cinematographer
Spouse(s) Isabella James Purefoy Ellis[1] (1991-present)

Roger Antony Deakins (born 24 May 1949) is an English BAFTA Award-winning cinematographer best known for his work on the films of the Coen brothers. Deakins is a member of both the American and British Society of Cinematographers.


Early years

Deakins was born in Torquay, Devon, England, the son of Josephine (née Messum), an actress, and William Albert Deakins, a builder.[1] He attended Torquay Boys' Grammar School. While growing up in Torquay as a young adolescent, Roger spent most of his time in and out of school focusing on his primary interest: painting. Several years later, Roger enrolled in the Bath School of Art and Design (in the city of Bath) – where he studied graphic design. While studying in Bath, Roger discovered his love of still photography. As it turned out, he was a very talented photographer, and this led him be hired to create a photographic documentary of his hometown, Torquay. About a year or so later, Deakins transferred to the National Film and Television School in England.




Shortly after graduating, Deakins found work as a cameraman, assisting in the production of documentaries in various locations abroad for approximately seven years. During this seven year stint, Roger's first project involved a nine month trip as one of the entrants of a ‘round-the-world yacht race called, Around the World With Ridgeway. This project captured the lives and growing tensions between several of the yacht's crewmen. Roger received high praise for his work out at sea showing the parallels between these teammates and shipmates. After completing Around the World With Ridgeway, Deakins was immediately hired by television studios to film several documentaries in Africa. His first, Zimbabwe, was a powerful and informative depiction of the genocide that had been going on there, following Zimbabwe's devastating civil war. His second African documentary was called, Eritrea – Behind Enemy Lines, which was another depiction of conflict, this time within the borders of Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

From the time of his work in Africa until the early 1980s, Deakins continued his cinematographic and directorial work in documentaries as well as the burgeoning field of music videos. His early work as both a director and cinematographer of music videos included Carl PerkinsBlue Suede Shoes, and the concert film, Van Morrison in Ireland. Subsequently, Roger was productive and his work in England and France continued through the seventies and late eighties, when he worked on Towers of Babel, Sid and Nancy, The Kitchen Toto, and Pacali's Island.

Feature films

Roger Deakins’ first feature film in America as a cinematographer was Mountains of the Moon (1990). He began his collaboration with the Coen brothers in 1991 on the film Barton Fink. Since then, Deakins has been the Coens’ main cinematic collaborator and has been their principal cinematographer.

Deakins received his first major award from the American Society of Cinematographers for his outstanding achievement in cinematography for the internationally praised major motion picture, The Shawshank Redemption. The ASC continued to honour Deakins with outstanding achievement nominations for his later works, including Fargo, Kundun, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and The Man Who Wasn't There, for which he won his second ASC Award. In 2008, Deakins became the first cinematographer in history to receive dual ASC nominations for his works, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and No Country for Old Men. The latter won the BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography and he received Academy Award nominations for both films. In 2009, he was double-nominated for the ASC Award again for Revolutionary Road and The Reader (with Chris Menges).[2] Deakins also worked as one of the visual consultants for the Pixar animated feature WALL-E.

Roger Deakins has received eight Academy Award nominations for the previously mentioned films, in addition to high praise from critic associations in both America and Britain.

Personal life

Deakins was married to script supervisor Isabella James Purefoy Ellis, professionally known as James Ellis, on 11 December 1991. His primary hobby is taking still photographs. Before he entered the National Film School, he spent a year in North Devon, England, documenting the way of life on the farms and in the villages. This cemented his passion for still photography that continues to this day. On the rare days that he is not in his boat while in Devon, he enjoys traveling to various places to augment his growing series of images.


Directed by the Coen brothers:

Directed by Sam Mendes:


Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

American Society of Cinematographers (ASC)

BAFTA Awards


  1. ^ a b "Roger Deakins Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-01.  
  2. ^ American Society of Cinematographers (2009-01-07). "ASC Names Feature Film Nominees". Retrieved 2009-01-11.  

External links


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