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Elliot Davis (cinematographer)

Elliot Davis (born May 23, 1948) is an American cinematographer.

Elliot Davis
Born (1948-05-23) May 23, 1948 (age 70)
Occupation Cinematographer
Years active 1976–present

Davis graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and a Master of Fine Arts in Film from UCLA.[1] Davis feels his tenure as an architect carries over into his shooting style.[2]

Davis began his career in the mid 1970s, acting as cinematographer on the drama Harvest: 3,000 Years. He also would act as the camera operator for various films, including Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders and Joel Schumacher's St. Elmo's Fire. Davis would collaborate frequently with several directors, including Steven Soderbergh (King of the Hill, The Underneath, Gray's Anatomy, Out of Sight), Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, The Nativity Story, Twilight) and Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam, Love the Coopers).

Davis was the director of photography for Nate Parker's controversial directorial debut The Birth of a Nation. Davis was not familiar with Parker prior to receiving the script, but soon forged a creative connection with him, using films such as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford as influence for the look of Nation.[3]

Additional works include The Cutting Edge, Father of the Bride Part II, Equinox, Larger Than Life, Forces of Nature, 40 Days and 40 Nights, White Oleander, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, A Love Song for Bobby Long, The Iron Lady, Man of Tai Chi and the upcoming Above Suspicion.

For his work on Equinox and The Underneath, Davis received two nominations for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography.


Year Title Role Director Notes
1976 Mirt Sost Shi Amit Cinematographer Haile Gerima
Independence Day Bobby Roth
1979 The Onion Field Camera operator Harold Becker
The Tenth Month Joan Tewkesbury TV Movie
1980 Used Cars Robert Zemeckis
1981 Broken English Cinematographer Michie Gleason
1982 Death Valley Camera operator Dick Richards
1983 The Outsiders Francis Ford Coppola
Something Wicked This Way Comes Jack Clayton
Return Engagement Alan Rudolph Documentary
1984 Racing with the Moon Richard Benjamin
1985 Tuff Turf Fritz Kiersch
St. Elmo's Fire Joel Schumacher
Trouble in Mind Alan Rudolph (2)
1986 8 Million Ways to Die Hal Ashby
Blue City Michelle Manning
Vamp Cinematographer Richard Wenk
1987 Summer Heat Michie Gleason (2)
Mayflower Madam Lou Antonio TV Movie
1988 Miles from Home Gary Sinise
1969 Camera operator Ernest Thompson
1989 Signs of Life Cinematographer John David Coles
Bloodhounds of Broadway Howard Brookner
1990 Bright Angel Michael Fields
Love at Large Alan Rudolph (3)
Tales from the Crypt J. Michael Riva TV Series (1 Episode)
1991 Shakes the Clown Bobcat Goldthwait
Mortal Thoughts Alan Rudolph (4)
1992 The Cutting Edge Paul Michael Glaser
Equinox Alan Rudolph (5) Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
Memphis Yves Simoneau TV Movie
Cruel Doubt Yves Simoneau (2) TV Mini-Series
1993 King of the Hill Steven Soderbergh
Mother's Boys Yves Simoneau (3)
1994 The Glass Shield Charles Burnett
Mr. Write Charlie Loventhal
1995 Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead Gary Fleder
Father of the Bride Part II Charles Shyer
The Underneath Steven Soderbergh (2) Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
1996 Get on the Bus Spike Lee
Larger than Life Howard Franklin
Gray's Anatomy Steven Soderbergh (3)
Nightjohn Charles Burnett (2) TV Movie
1997 Lawn Dogs John Duigan
1998 Out of Sight Steven Soderbergh (4)
Finding Graceland David Winkler
1999 Forces of Nature Bronwen Hughes
Light It Up Craig Bolotin
Breakfast of Champions Alan Rudolph (6)
2000 The Next Best Thing John Schlesinger
2001 I Am Sam Jessie Nelson
Happy Campers Daniel Waters
2002 40 Days and 40 Nights Michael Lehmann
White Oleander Peter Kosminsky
2003 Thirteen Catherine Hardwicke
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde Charles Herman-Wurmfeld
2004 A Love Song for Bobby Long Shainee Gabel
2005 Lords of Dogtown Catherine Hardwicke (2)
2006 The Nativity Story Catherine Hardwicke (3)
2008 Surfer, Dude S.R. Bindler
Twilight Catherine Hardwicke (4)
2009 Personal Effects Cinematographer & Co-Producer David Hollander
2011 The Iron Lady Cinematographer Phyllida Lloyd
A Year in Mooring Chris Eyre SXSW Film Festival - Best Cinematography - Narrative Competition
Hell on Wheels David Von Ancken TV Series (1 Episode)
2013 Man of Tai Chi Keanu Reeves
Louder Than Words Anthony Fabian
2014 Crisis Phillip Noyce TV Series (1 Episode)
2015 The Runner Austin Stark
Love the Coopers Jessie Nelson (2)
Miss You Already Catherine Hardwicke (5)
Eye Candy Catherine Hardwicke (6) TV Series (1 Episode)
2016 The Birth of a Nation Nate Parker
2017 Above Suspicion Phillip Noyce (2)
2018 A Love of Money Director Elliot Davis
Dumplin' Cinematographer Anne Fletcher
Surfing in Afghanistan R.T. Herwig


  1. ^ "Elliot Davis". 1948-05-23. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 
  2. ^ Dana Harris (2016-01-26). "How I Shot That: DP Elliot Davis on the Rigor and Speed it Took to Create 'The Birth of a Nation'". IndieWire. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 
  3. ^ Tuesday, February 7, 2017 (2016-11-17). "DP Elliot Davis Focuses on "The Birth of a Nation"". Retrieved 2017-02-07. 

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