Brian Tufano, the veteran BAFTA-nominated cinematographer known for his collaborations with Danny Boyle, has passed away. He turned 83.
The news was confirmed by Tufano’s agent at McKinney Macartney Management, with Jon Wardle, director of Britain’s National Film and Television School – where Tufano had previously served as head of department – posting a tribute on Twitter.
“We are deeply sorry to share that cinematography legend and former @NFTSFilmTV division head Brian Tufano has passed away,” Wardle wrote. “He’s made so many great movies and done so much to promote new talent, especially female DPs. We loved him and will REALLY miss him.”
Tufano began his career with the BBC as a projectionist, worked his way up to cinematographer in the film department in 1963 and worked for the broadcaster on small screen features with directors such as Stephen Frears, Ken Russell and Alan Parker. His first feature, after going freelance in the mid-1970s, would be The return of the sailor for director Jack Gold, while he would later shoot the 1979 British cult drama Quadrophenia. In the 1980s he would provide Jordon Cronenweth with additional cameraman Blade Runner.
Tufano first worked with Boyle on the 1993 TV miniseries Mr. Wroe’s virgins, kickstarting a creative collaboration that would transition to feature films the following year with the director’s breakout debut, Shallow graveand later including groundbreaking global smash Trainspotting and A less ordinary life. The two also worked on the 2008 short film Alien love triangle. Other credits would include East is East, Billy Elliott (starring a young Jamie Bell and for which Tufano would receive a BAFTA nomination) and Once upon a time in the Midlandswhile with Jump boy, Youth, maturity and All over the place, Tufano enjoyed a four-film collaboration with director Menhaj Huda. Tufano’s last film was the 2011 documentary Gymnast. In 2001, he won the BAFTA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television.
In conversation with David A. Ellis of film int in 2016, Tufano said of his career, “I always wanted to work with the camera when I was in school. There was nothing else on my mind, but it was the process of getting there. … I find I can easily adapt to any director. I used to find it more comfortable when the director was next to me and next to the camera. They were involved with the actors and the crew. The majority of young directors don’t seem to be able to work unless they’re looking at a monitor.”
An obituary on his agent’s website described Tufano as the “cinematographer’s cinematographer,” whose work will continue for a long time to come. “His legacy lives on – not just through those works – but also through the careers of the students he raised over the years,” it added. “Our lives are richer for knowing Brian and we will miss him dearly.”