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Tribute to Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS

Oct 7, 2021

Cinematographer Geoff Boyle, and the renowned founder of the hugely-popular Cinematography Mailing List, passed away on Tuesday October 5th in Zoetermeer, NL after a long and feisty battle with cancer.

Geoff was born in a council estate in the Northeast of England on July 20th 1950. Aged eight he was given his first Brownie 127 camera, which started him on the lifelong path of imagemaking. He dropped out of his final year at art school to work as a stills assistant at the studio used as the location for Blow Up, working mostly in fashion and advertising. He also worked as a stills photographer covering music for notorious underground magazine Oz.

One day in 1973 he was asked if he knew anyone who could film a concert, and of course he did! He switched to film work entirely, shooting news, documentaries, and music promos for everyone from Bowie to Zeppelin. In 1985 he moved to commercials, and by the ’90s Kodak said he was one of 10 cinematographers shooting 80% of national spots in the UK. After 20 years in commercials he focused on long-form drama, from the digital production Mutant Chronicles in 2006, to multiple 3D projects, the series Wallander shot on Red cameras, and action film Streetfighter: The Legend of Chun-Li shooting 3-perf 35mm, among others. In the process he garnered awards from SMPTE, BKSTS, BSC, ACS, and NSC.

In 1996, while bored late one night in a hotel room during the middle of a shoot, he started the Cinematography Mailing List, which has grown to over 12,500 members worldwide. He also taught workshops in the USA, UK, Europe, Australia and Asia, and was appointed a Visiting Professor at the University of the West Of England in 2013.

Geoff was always eager to exploit new technologies, but always in service to the image: “F*** the numbers!” was his rallying cry whenever people would obsess over resolution or bit rates instead of looking at the picture, along with “‘Good enough’ is not good enough and ‘Close enough’ is miles away from good.”

He is survived by his wife, Deborah. And by the many members and participants of the Cinematography Mailing List.

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