John Seitz

Active - 1918 - 1997  |   Born - Jun 23, 1893   |   Died - Jan 1, 1979   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy, Crime

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

John F. Seitz was a prominent American cinematographer during the silent and sound eras. Seitz, the younger brother of director George B. Seitz, began his film career as a 16-year-old lab technician; by 1916, he had become a cameraman for feature films. Seitz collaborated with director Rex Ingram on films such as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse during the 1920s. It was in this time period that Seitz invented the matte shot (in which a large painting is photographed separately and later added to a scene to expand it, add unusual effects, or create a sense of depth in backgrounds); he also was noted for his innovations with low-key lighting. During the 1940s, he worked on many major productions, particularly those of Sturges and Wilder. Seitz retired from cinematography in 1960 and went on to perform many lab experiments resulting in 18 patents for his photographic inventions.

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