Star Wars cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, the man who shot the original Star Wars film, passed away on Friday at the age of 99. He lived a long and successful life and his impressive collection of work will continue to live on and carry his name long after his passing.
Taylor was just eight months shy of his 100th birthday.
“Gilbert’s work truly stands the test of time,” said George Lucas, via StarWars.com. “I had long admired his work on films such as A Hard Day’s Night and Dr. Strangelove and I had the privilege of working with him on Star Wars. He was a true expert in his craft. Gilbert’s inspired work will live on in the many films he contributed to throughout his long career.
For Taylor, Star Wars is and always will be one of the biggest parts of who he was. This is what he had to say in a past interview with the Star Wars News Blog:
“I am most happy to be remembered as the man who set the look for Star Wars. I wanted to give Star Wars a unique visual style that would distinguish it from other films in the science fiction genre. I wanted Star Wars to have clarity because I think space isn’t out of focus, also I was mindful that there was an enormous amount of process work to be done in America with [John] Dykstra after we had finished shooting in England, and a crisp result would help this process. The cinematography was specially designed by myself so that these huge dark spacecraft could be illuminated to contain all the action. I literally tore the sets to pieces and inserted huge quartz like panels which would give George Lucas freedom to shoot in all directions quickly without re-lighting. My special light screens used 7,000 photofloods on large dimming apparatus. This powerful pattern made a huge impression on the audience. I was honored to be awarded the Golden Globe from the American Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Films for 1977 for my outstanding photography of Star Wars. I also received a BSC award. Although my career is at its end, I still communicate with Star Wars fans from all over the world with autographs and photographs. In addition to this I have my paintings of my impressions of Star Wars.”