John Mathieson (cinematographer)

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John Mathieson

John Mathieson in Bitola.jpg
Born (1961-05-03) 3 May 1961 (age 59)
Occupation Cinematographer
Years active1988–present
Organization British Society of Cinematographers
Spouse(s)Maria Tamander
Awards BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
2000 Gladiator

John Mathieson CAL, BSC (born 3 May 1961) [1] is an English cinematographer and commercial director. He is one of a group of filmmakers who emerged from the music video industry of the late 1980s and 1990s. He is a frequent collaborator with director Ridley Scott, acting as director of photography on most of his films beginning with Gladiator (2000), for which he won a BAFTA Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. He has worked with directors like Joel Schumacher, Rowan Joffé, Matthew Vaughn, Guy Ritchie, James Mangold, and Rob Letterman.


Life and career

Mathieson was born on Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, England. Beginning his career in the British film industry as camera assistant to Gabriel Beristain, Mathieson worked his way through the ranks. In 1988 he garnered recognition for the ground breaking video "Peek-a-Boo" [2] for Siouxsie and the Banshees, directed by Peter Scammell. He collaborated with John Maybury, director of the Sinéad O'Connor video "Nothing Compares 2 U", going on to photograph Maybury's award-winning film Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon . Mathieson honed his craft through the 1990s shooting numerous television commercials and music videos for artists including Madonna, Prince and Massive Attack.

In the mid 1990s Mathieson photographed two feature films for director Karim Dridi, for which he was later bestowed the honour of Chevalier by the French government. He came to the attention of Tony Scott whilst shooting television commercials for the London-based company RSA Films. After working as visual effects cinematographer on Enemy of the State for Tony Scott, Mathieson photographed the film Plunkett & Macleane for Jake Scott. Having seen Mathiesons work on Plunkett, Ridley Scott invited him to work on his next project. Mathieson has photographed five films for Ridley Scott, nominated for an Academy Award for Gladiator in 2000 and won the BAFTA award for best Cinematography in the same year. His second Oscar nomination came for The Phantom of the Opera (2004) directed by Joel Schumacher.

Despite a career now cemented in big budget film production, Mathieson maintains links with independent British film, working on more modest budget projects including Trauma directed by Marc Evans and Stoned directed by Stephen Woolley.

Personal life

Mathieson lives in the United Kingdom, and is married to Maria Tarmander. He has earned a Knighthood of the Order of Arts and Letters for his contributions to the entertainment industry.


Dagger-14-plain.pngDenotes films that have not yet been released


1989Beverly Hills Is Bournemouth with Sunshine Marc Munden Documentary film
1994Remembrance of Things Fast:
True Stories Visual Lies
John Maybury
3 Chains o' Gold Parris Patton
Randee St. Nicholas
Pigalle Karim Dridi
1995 Bye-Bye
1996Mirror, Mirror Baillie Walsh Documentary film
1997 Twin Town Kevin Allen
1998Vigo: A Passion for Life Julien Temple
1999 Plunkett & Macleane Jake Scott
2000 Gladiator Ridley Scott BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Cinematography
Satellite Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Nominated Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Cinematography
2001 Hannibal
K-PAX Iain Softley
2003 Matchstick Men Ridley Scott
2004 Trauma Marc Evans
The Phantom of the Opera Joel Schumacher Nominated Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated BSC Award for Best Cinematography in a Feature Film
Nominated San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated Satellite Award for Best Cinematography
2005 Kingdom of Heaven Ridley Scott
Stoned Stephen Woolley
2007 August Rush Kirsten Sheridan
2009 Cracks Jordan Scott Nominated Camerimage Golden Frog
2010 Brighton Rock Rowan Joffé
Burke & Hare John Landis
Robin Hood Ridley Scott
2011 X-Men: First Class Matthew Vaughn
2012 Great Expectations Mike Newell Nominated BSC Award for Best Cinematography in a Feature Film
2013 47 Ronin Carl Rinsch
2015 Pan Joe Wright Co-cinematographer with Seamus McGarvey
Nominated Camerimage Jury Award for Best 3D Film
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Guy Ritchie
2017 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Logan James Mangold
2018 American Woman Jake Scott
Mary Queen of Scots Josie Rourke
2019 Detective Pikachu Rob Letterman
2022 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Dagger-14-plain.png Sam Raimi Filming


1990Sex Talk: The Wilder ShoresDocumentary special
1995There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
1997 The Hunger Episodes: "The Swords" & "Ménage à Trois"
1998 Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon Television film
2012 Playhouse Presents Episode: "The Man"
2017Tom Cruise: Reel LifeDocumentary special

Music video

1990"All My Trials" Paul McCartney Nigel Dick
1991"Mysterious Ways" U2 Stéphane Sednaoui
1993"Heart-Shaped Box" Nirvana Anton Corbijn Nominated MTV Video Music Award for Best Cinematography
1998"Drowned World/Substitute for Love" Madonna Walter Stern
1999"The World Is Not Enough" Garbage Philipp Stölzl
2000"Ex-Girlfriend" No Doubt Hype Williams
"American Pie" Madonna Philipp StölzlNominated MTV Video Music Award for Best Cinematography
2008 KylieX2008 Kylie Minogue William Baker
2012"Black Chandelier" Biffy Clyro Big TV!

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  1. "John Mathieson". Retrieved 19 October 2013.