Michael Ballhaus has consistently proven himself as a DoP able to reconcile the demands of cinema to both art and commerce. His 40-year career is distinguished by lengthy collaborations with Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Martin Scorsese, while his body of work reveals a man as much at home with the demands of a slick contemporary thriller such as Air Force One (1997) as with the sumptuous period look of The Age Of Innocence (1993).
Born in Berlin, the 72-year-old Ballhaus traces his passion for cinematography to the time he spent watching the filming of Max Ophuls' legendary Lola Montes (1955). Ballhaus worked as a stage photographer before beginning his film career in 1968. A key figure in the 1970s renaissance of German cinema, his style grew during a 15-film collaboration with Fassbinder that reached its artistic peak in The Marriage Of Maria Braun (1978). He made the move to the US a quarter of a century ago and has worked with John Sayles, Francis Ford Coppola, Mike Nichols, Robert Redford and Wolfgang Petersen.
His many honours include Oscar nods for Broadcast News (1987), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) and Gangs Of New York (2002) and Bafta nominations for Goodfellas (1990), The Age Of Innocence (1994) and Gangs Of New York. The dynamism and fluidity of his cinematography on the Scorsese films offer a textbook example of the way one artist can translate and enhance the vision of another. Ballhaus is the consummate professional and a perfect example of a European craftsman who has left an indelible stamp on the international scene.