Legendary ‘Frantic’ lenser Witold Sobociński dies at 89

An equally important inspiration for his film work, Sobociński once confessed, was painting, saying he believed space was created by light and colour, both in a single shot and in a whole film. Andrzej Zbraniecki/PAP

World-renowned cinematography legend and veteran professor, Witold Sobociński passed away yesterday aged 89.

Announced on 19th November 2018 by the National film school in Łódź, Sobociński's alma mater, wrote on their website: "An outstanding film photographer, our teacher has passed away aged 89.

"He was one of the first graduates of the Cinematography Department, and the most important Łódź Film School professors in its whole history."

Born in 1929 in Ozorków near Łódź, Sobociński worked on blockbuster films such as Roman Polański's "Frantic" starring Harrison Ford (1988), Andrzej Wajda's Oscar-nominated "The Promised Land" (1976) and Cannes film festival winner, "The Hourglass Sanatorium" (1973) by Wojciech Has.

In his youth Sobociński (2L) played the trombone and drums in the jazz band Melomani.PAP

Collaborating with some of the world’s greatest directors, the famed cinematographer raked up an impressive catalogue of awards and recognition over his life.

A recipient of the Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award three times, he was also honoured with the American Association of Cinematographers International award.

From his native Poland, he was awarded with the "Platinum Lions" award in Gdynia, and the special Award of the Association of Cinematographers (PSC) and Polish Filmmakers Association Award in 2012 for outstanding artistic achievements.

While he is remembered for the leaps he made in Polish cinema, Sobociński dabbled as a jazz musician in his youth, playing the trombone and drums in the band Melomani.Sobociński on the set of the film “Everything for sale” (1968) directed by Andrzej Wajda (L).Lech Zielaskowski/PAP

The rhythm that fellow cinematographer Jerzy Wójcik says Sobociński 'had inside him' is something he took from the world of music and translated into his cinematic depictions.

An equally important inspiration for his film work, Sobociński once confessed, was painting, saying he believed space was created by light and colour, both in a single shot and in a whole film.

As a dedicated teacher, Sobociński taught at the National Film School (PWSFTviT) in Łódź, nurturing many valued Polish cinematographers, including his son, the deceased cameraman Piotr Sobociński.