Polly Morgan (cinematographer)

Polly Morgan is a British cinematographer who has worked on the studio feature films Lucy in the Sky (2019) and A Quiet Place Part II (2020) and multiple episodes of the TV series Legion (2017–2019). Her first cinematography credits were the films Junkie (2012), The Truth About Emanuel (2013), and The Pretty One (2013). She has also worked on numerous films and TV series throughout the 2010s.

Polly Morgan
Years active2011 to present

Prior to becoming cinematographer, Morgan worked in the film and television industries since the mid-2000s as a production assistant and in multiple roles of the camera department. She worked under numerous cinematographers and attended the American Film Institute's AFI Conservatory as a Fulbright Scholar, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts degree in cinematography. She is accredited by the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC) and the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).[1] To date, she is the only woman to be a member of both,[2] and she is the youngest member of ASC.[3]


Morgan was born in London.[4] She was raised in West Sussex.[5] Her grandfather enjoyed the hobby of drawing, and she became involved in art through him.[6] When she was 13 years old, a film crew from Channel 4 came to her family's farm to film a documentary about composer Edward Elgar.[7] The experience introduced her to filmmaking.[8] As a teenager, she studied art history and photography.[1] At University of Leeds, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcasting,[9] which had a program that gave students hands-on experience with single-camera productions.[1]


Lead-up to cinematographyEdit

Before Polly Morgan became a cinematographer, she spent around ten years working in film and television, including six years as an assistant.[10] She first started in film working on sets as a production assistant for a Canadian director in Toronto. She then moved to London with her PA experience.[6] In 2002, she was hired as an in-house production assistant at RSA Films (founded by Ridley Scott and Tony Scott), based in London.[9] As a PA on a music video, she met cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos,[10] who hired her as a camera trainee.[6] In the following six years, she worked on commercials for Zamarloukos as a loader and as an assistant camera.[10] Cinematographers she worked with included Wally Pfister, Seamus McGarvey, Dan Mindel,[1] Caleb Deschanel, and Alwin Kuchler. She had met Kuchler when she was an assistant camera. She then worked for him in Canada and the United Kingdom as an assistant, eventually working for him as a camera operator and a second-unit director of photography.[10]

In 2006, Morgan attended lighting and camera workshops in the US state of Maine.[9] Zambarloukos encouraged her to attend the American Film Institute's AFI Conservatory.[10] In 2008, she received a Fulbright Fellowship that enabled her to move to Los Angeles and attend the conservatory.[9] In 2012, she was given the Rising Stars of Cinematography award by the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).[11] Cinematographer and ASC member Michael Goi became Morgan's mentor for numerous years.[6] While she was at the AFI Conservatory, she assisted Pfister on numerous commercials;[10] she also interned for him as production assistant when he worked on the 2010 film Inception.[12][13]

Work as cinematographerEdit

Morgan is accredited by the ASC and the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC).[1] To date, she is the only woman to be a member of both,[2] and she is the youngest member of ASC.[3] She describes her cinematography style, "My style is a blend between a naturalistic, free approach with a more classical, conventional approach."[12]

Her first feature film credit as cinematographer was Junkie. Filming started in 2011, and it was ultimately released in 2012.[10][7] After she graduated from the AFI Conservatory with a Master of Fine Arts degree in cinematography,[12][6] she was cinematographer for two independent feature films: The Pretty One and The Truth About Emanuel.[10] The latter film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013, and in subsequent film festivals, Morgan was recognized for her cinematography,[14] including the Best Cinematography award at the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival.[15] Afterward, several films she worked on premiered at Sundance, South by Southwest, and Tribeca Film Festival. She also worked on several TV productions in the United Kingdom and the United States.[14] One of her TV contributions was a result of Goi hiring her to shoot additional photography for almost a dozen episodes of the TV series American Horror Story.[6] Morgan has also worked on music videos and TV commercials.[16]

In the late 2010s, Morgan was cinematographer for several works outside of the United Kingdom. She lensed several episodes of the TV series Legion (2017–2019) and the films The Intervention (2016), Slumber (2017), and Spinning Man (2018). The British Film Institute said for Slumber, Morgan "created nightmarish visuals", and for The Intervention, she provided an "intimate, intense look". The BFI said of her cinematography in the latter, "The relaxed aesthetic [gives] way to sharper angles and deeper shadows as the story evolves and motivations are revealed."[4]

In 2018, Morgan became a member of the ASC,[16] having been recommended by Goi, Dean Cundey, and Robert Primes.[6] In 2019, she was nominated for an ASC award for Episode of a Series for Commercial Television for her cinematography of the Legion episode "Chapter 23". The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Morgan was "a rare female nominee".[17] Her cinematography work on Legion led its showrunner Noah Hawley to hire her as cinematographer for his 2019 film Lucy in the Sky,[16] which, as a Fox Searchlight Pictures production, was her first credit for a studio feature.[18] Following that, she was hired as cinematographer for the 2020 film A Quiet Place Part II by Paramount Pictures.[16]


Morgan's credits for film
Year Title Credit Ref.
2004 Enduring Love B camera 2nd assistant [19]
2008 Donkey Punch HD 2nd assistant camera (2nd unit London) [19]
2010 Inception Set production assistant [13]
2012 Marley Additional 1st assistant camera [19]
2012 Junkie Director of photography [10]
2013 The Truth About Emanuel Director of photography [13]
2013 The Pretty One Director of photography [13]
2015 We'll Never Have Paris Director of photography [19]
2016 Holy Hell Director of photography; shared with Will Allen [20]
2016 The Intervention Director of photography [4]
2016 The Other Side of the Door Director of photography (pick-up unit) [19]
2017 Slumber Director of photography [19]
2018 6 Balloons Director of photography [21]
2018 Spinning Man Director of photography [4]
2019 Lucy in the Sky Director of photography [19]
2020 A Quiet Place Part II Director of photography [19]
Morgan's credits for television
Years Worked Title (Years Aired) Notes Ref.
2002–2004 15 Storeys High (2002–2004) 12 episodes as assistant camera operator
2012–2014 American Horror Story (2011 to present) 11 episodes (10 as additional director of photography, 1 as camera operator) [6]
2015 From Darkness (2015) 4 episodes [22]
2015 Call the Midwife (2012 to present) 2 episodes, director of photography [22]
2016 The A Word (2016 to present) 2 episodes [23]
2018 Strange Angel (2018–2019) 2 episodes, director of photography [1]
2018–2019 Legion (2017–2019) 9 episodes (3 as director of photography) [4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Dillard, Samantha (18 July 2018). "ASC Welcomes Polly Morgan as New Member". theasc.com. American Society of Cinematographers. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b Snowden, Scott (5 November 2019). "Making 'Lucy in the Sky': Shifting Proportions, Fake Water and a Space Movie". Space.com. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b Valentini, Valentina (23 February 2019). "Meet the Cinematographers Behind Some of the Biggest Movies — Who Happen to Be Women". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e Baughan, Nikki (6 March 2018). "International Women's Day: 17 female cinematographers to celebrate". bfi.org.uk. British Film Institute. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  5. ^ Matsumoto, Neil (16 May 2018). "DP Polly Morgan, BSC shoots Netflix feature 6 Balloons on VariCam". na.panasonic.com. Panasonic. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Staff (27 August 2019). "ASC Close-Up: Polly Morgan". American Cinematographer. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  7. ^ a b Pennington, Adam (10 June 2019). "Craft Leaders: Polly Morgan, ASC BSC". IBC365. International Broadcasting Convention. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  8. ^ Staff (1 May 2015). "Self Reflection: Meet the New Wave / Polly Morgan". British Cinematographer. LAWS Publishing. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d Staff (September 2018). "Society Welcomes Morgan". American Cinematographer. 99 (9). Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Staff (28 June 2016). "Double Act: Polly Morgan / The Truth About Emanuel and The Pretty One". British Cinematographer. LAWS Publishing. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Polly Morgan ASC BSC". bscine.com. British Society of Cinematographers. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  12. ^ a b c Staff (20 April 2016). "10 Cinematographers to Watch 2016". Variety. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d "Polly Morgan". catalog.afi.com. American Film Institute. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  14. ^ a b Anderson, Erik (21 October 2019). "Interview: 'Lucy in the Sky' cinematographer Polly Morgan". AwardsWatch. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  15. ^ Sharf, Zack (28 August 2019). "The 30 Cinematographers to Watch This Fall Awards Season". IndieWire. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  16. ^ a b c d Woolsey, Amy (24 June 2019). "How cinematographer Polly Morgan made Legion into art". Culturess. FanSided. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  17. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (25 November 2019). "ASC Reveals 2019 Doc, TV Cinematography Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  18. ^ Valentini, Valentina (20 April 2018). "How Hollywood can put more women behind the camera". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h "Polly Morgan". bfi.org.uk. British Film Institute. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  20. ^ O'Falt, Chris (25 January 2016). "How I Shot That: DP Polly Morgan Explains How She Went Undercover for 'Holy Hell'". IndieWire. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  21. ^ Dager, Nick (18 May 2018). "Polly Morgan Creates a Raw Look for 6 Balloons". Digital Cinema Report. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  22. ^ a b "Polly Morgan BSC, ASC". illuminatrix.com. Illuminatrix. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  23. ^ Klemens, Kristen (11 November 2016). "UK cinematographer database to promote female talent". Screen Daily. Retrieved 12 March 2020.

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