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Sven Nykvist

Sven Nykvist

Few cinematographers have been as influential as Ingmar Bergman’s close collaborator Sven Nykvist, who helped create such visual tours de force as The Silence, Cries and Whispers, and Fanny and Alexander. A painter whose medium was natural light, a capturer of souls, Nykvist made every human portrait an X-ray, and every interior—whether austerely white or lavishly chromatic—an expressive canvas. Nykvist first worked with Bergman in 1953, when he was one of three cinematographers assigned to the director’s gloomy, twilit circus tale Sawdust and Tinsel. But their union truly began with The Virgin Spring—that savage medieval folk tale ushered in the new era of unsparing, gorgeously shot psychological portraits and open-air location photography that would take Bergman from the devastating God’s Silence trilogy to the richly life-affirming Fanny and Alexander. His work with Bergman made Nykvist an in-demand industry figure, and he would go on to shoot movies in Hollywood and beyond, for directors like Bob Rafelson, Bob Fosse, Philip Kaufman, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Woody Allen. Nykvist died in 2006.