Most of the great directors use the same cinematographers over and over. Their filmographies become intertwined. Stanley Kubrick had John Alcott, Martin Scorsese had Michael Ballhaus, Woody Allen had Gordon Willis, the Coen Brothers have Roger Deakins, Alfonso Cuaron and Terrence Malick have Emmanuel Lubezki, and etc.
It makes sense, of course—getting someone to achieve the visuals that you want is perhaps the most important and technical aspect of making motion pictures. And while directors can come together to save celluloid film or learn how to use digital to better fit their needs, cinematographers are still the people that have to shoot the thing. This means that when there are technical advances, often times it’s the cinematographer who has to learn to adapt.
With digital cinema is making cameras more accessible, viewers are becoming more aware of certain tricks in an increasingly technical trade (like requiring possible built-in breaks in long-takes, such as the pan up to the helicopter in True Detective during McConaughey’s escape from a dingy apartment). But it also means that cinephiles are just as likely to be fans of a cinematographer as they are a director. With that idea in mind, we scoured the released calendar for 2015 to find 12 cinematographers who have not had the big director relationship cache yet, but are poised to make it big next year.