Remembering Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS (1950 – 2021)

October 8, 2021

Cinematographer and founder of the Cinematography Mailing List, Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS, has passed away, after a battle with cancer. 

Geoff Boyle was born in a council estate in the Northeast of England in 1950. At eight he was given his first Brownie 127 camera, which started him on lifelong image-making. He dropped out of his final year in art school to work as a stills assistant at the studio used as the location for Blow Up, working mostly in fashion and advertising. He also worked as a stills photographer, covering music for notorious underground magazine Oz. 

One day in 1973, he was asked if he knew anyone who could film a concert, and of course he did! He switched to film work entirely, shooting news, documentaries, and music promos for everyone from Bowie to Zeppelin. In 1985, he moved to commercials, and by the ’90s Kodak said he was one of 10 cinematographers shooting 80% of national spots in the UK. After 20 years in commercials, he focused on long-form drama, from the digital production Mutant Chronicles in 2006, to multiple 3D projects, the series Wallander, shot on REDs, and action film Streetfighter: The Legend of Chun-Li shooting 3-perf 35mm, among others. In the process he garnered awards from SMPTE, BKSTS, BSC, ACS, and NSC. 

In 1996, while bored late one night in a hotel room during the middle of a shoot, he started the Cinematography Mailing List, which has grown to over 12,500 members worldwide. He has also taught workshops in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and Asia, and was appointed a Visiting Professor at the University of the West of England in 2013. He was always eager to exploit new technologies, but always in service to the image: “F*** the numbers!” was his rallying cry whenever people would obsess over resolution or bit rates instead of looking at the picture, along with “‘good enough’ is not good enough and ‘close enough’ is miles away from good.” 

Geoff died on Tuesday October 5th in Zoetermeer, NL after a long and feisty battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Deborah and by the Cinematography Mailing List. 

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