Incredibly Wolfgang Suschitzky became one of the first members of the newly formed British Film Academy in 1948. Sixty-four years later, in 2012 at the age of 100, he was awarded a Special Award by BAFTA for his Creative Contribution to the film and television industries.
Suschitzky’s was the head of three generations of successful cameraman. His son Peter is best known as David Cronenberg’s long-time cinematographer, while his grandson Adam also has a successful career as a Director of Photography.
Born in Vienna in 1912 Suschitzky emigrated to London in 1935, following his sister Edith Tudor-Hart (herself an important documentary photographer), initially to pursue a career in photography.
Suschitzsky’s first encounters with film production were facilitated by Paul Rotha, a central figure in the 1930s and 1940s British Documentary Film Movement. It was the Movement’s civic commitment that attracted the committed socialist Suschitzky and which continued to inform his work throughout his long career.
Suschitzsky was able to pursue a successful career as both a photographer and a cinematographer. Although his acclaimed black and white photography of London in the 1930s and 1940s remain his best known stills work, he is renowned as a committed photographer of human and industrial scenes, animal portraiture and the world’s children.
His work as a cinematographer was unique in its scale and diversity, his resume includes work on over 200 features and shorts, documentary and fiction films and television productions as well as innumerable commercials. He became increasingly in demand for his features work, including filming the iconic Get Carter with director Mike Hodges in 1971, but never entirely abandoned his non-fiction origins.