Janusz Kamiński

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Janusz Kamiński
Kamiński in 2014
Janusz Zygmunt Kamiński

(1959-06-27) June 27, 1959 (age 64)
Alma materColumbia College Chicago (B.A., 1987)[2]
AFI Conservatory (M.F.A., 1987)[3]
Occupation(s)Cinematographer, film director, television director
Years active1986–present
OrganizationAmerican Film Institute
(m. 1995; div. 2001)
Rebecca Rankin
(m. 2004; div. 2010)
AwardsSee full awards

Janusz Zygmunt Kamiński (Polish: [ˌjanuʂ kaˈmiɲskʲi]; born June 27, 1959) is a Polish[1] cinematographer and director of film and television. He has established a partnership with Steven Spielberg, working as a cinematographer on his films since 1993.[4] He won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Spielberg's holocaust drama Schindler's List and World War II epic Saving Private Ryan (1998). He has also received Academy Award nominations for Amistad (1997), The Diving Bell & the Butterfly (2007), War Horse (2011), Lincoln (2012), and West Side Story (2021). He has also received nominations for five BAFTA Awards, and six American Society of Cinematographers Awards.

In addition to his collaborations with Spielberg, he has also worked with Cameron Crowe, James L. Brooks, and Julian Schnabel. Kamiński has also moved into the field of directing, first with the horror film Lost Souls (2000), and the NBC series The Event (2011) and WE TV series The Divide (2014). In 2019, the American Society of Cinematographers included Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, both shot by Kamiński, on the list of the best-photographed films of the 20th century.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Kamiński was born in Ziębice, Poland, the son of mother, Jadwiga Celner, and father, Marian Kaminski.[6] In 1981, he emigrated to the United States at the age of 21 after Prime Minister Jaruzelski imposed martial law. He attended Columbia College in Chicago from 1982 to 1987, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree,[2] taking up filmmaking as a profession before attending to the AFI Conservatory, where he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree. He would then take his first opportunity filming and helping direct the music video for Club of Rome’s smash hit ‘Why Can't I Dance With Phil Donahue’.


He worked under cinematographer Phedon Papamichael,[7] first as a gaffer, and eventually as second unit director of photography. He shot numerous B-movies for directors Roger Corman and Katt Shea, as well as the romantic musical comedy Cool as Ice, starring Vanilla Ice.

Kamiński was first discovered by Steven Spielberg in 1991. After seeing the television film Wildflower, Spielberg hired Kamiński to shoot Class of '61, a television film in which Spielberg served as producer.[8]

He twice won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in the 1990s, for Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. He has been nominated five additional times for Amistad, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, War Horse, Lincoln, and West Side Story. In 2010, he was awarded the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal by the AFI Conservatory.[9]

Kamiński became a member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) in 1994,[10] but resigned in 2006.[10][11][12]

In 2018 Kamiński worried that professional cinematographers were digitally losing control of their own images.[13] In 2010 Kamiński abandoned the Chris Curling female fighter pilot World War II project The Night Witch,[14] and in 2012 Kamiński discussed directing a Los Angeles-based version of the drama "XXXXXX" but nothing became of it.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Kamiński was married to actress Holly Hunter from 1995 until 2001. In 2004, he married ABC reporter Rebecca Rankin; they divorced in 2010.[16]



Short film

  • Making a Scene (2013)

Feature film

  • Lost Souls (2000)
  • Hania (2007)
  • American Dream (2021)


Year Title Episode
2011 The Event "Face Off"
2014 The Divide "Never Forget"


Short film

Year Title Director
1989 Drowning Juan Carlos Valdivia
2004 Jumbo Girl Daniel Curran
2007 Mission Zero Kathryn Bigelow
2013 Broken Night Guillermo Arriaga
Denotes films that have not yet been released

Feature film

Year Title Director Notes
1986 Lady America Nick Gaitatjis
1989 Grim Prairie Tales Wayne Coe
1990 The Rain Killer Ken Stein
The Terror Within II Andrew Stevens
1991 Cool as Ice David Kellogg
Killer Instinct David Tausik Credited as Jennifer Stoltz
1992 Pyrates Noah Stern
All the Love in the World Daniel Curran
Mad Dog Coll Greydon Clark
Ken Stein
1993 Trouble Bound Jeffrey Reiner
The Adventures of Huck Finn Stephen Sommers
Schindler's List Steven Spielberg 1st collaboration with Spielberg
1994 Little Giants Duwayne Dunham
1995 Tall Tale Jeremiah S. Chechik
How to Make an American Quilt Jocelyn Moorhouse
1996 Jerry Maguire Cameron Crowe
1997 The Lost World: Jurassic Park Steven Spielberg
1998 Saving Private Ryan
2001 A.I. Artificial Intelligence
2002 Minority Report
Catch Me If You Can
2004 The Terminal
2005 War of the Worlds
2007 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Julian Schnabel
Hania Himself
2008 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Steven Spielberg
2009 Funny People Judd Apatow
2010 How Do You Know James L. Brooks
2011 The Adventures of Tintin Steven Spielberg
War Horse
2012 Lincoln
2014 The Judge David Dobkin
2015 Bridge of Spies Steven Spielberg
2016 The BFG
2017 The Post
2018 Ready Player One
2020 The Call of the Wild Chris Sanders
2021 West Side Story Steven Spielberg
2022 The Fabelmans
2024 IF John Krasinski


Year Title Director Notes
1991 Wildflower Diane Keaton TV movie
1993 Class of '61 Gregory Hoblit
2006 Wonder Pets! Josh Selig Episode "Save the Crane"
2014 The Divide Tony Goldwyn Episode "The Ways Men Divide"
2021 Oslo Bartlett Sher TV movie

Other credits[edit]

Second unit photography

Year Title Director DoP.
1989 Lords of the Deep Mary Ann Fisher Austin McKinney
1990 Streets Katt Shea Phedon Papamichael
Watchers II Thierry Notz Edward J. Pei
1992 One False Move Carl Franklin James L. Carter

Additional photography

Year Title Director DoP.
1992 Star Time Alexander Cassini Fernando Argüelles
1993 Love, Cheat & Steal William Curran Kent L. Wakeford
1998 Armageddon Michael Bay John Schwartzman

Executive Producer

Awards and nominations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Can Kaminski clinch Oscar for Lincoln?". Polskie Radio. February 22, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Spot On: Mauro Fiore" Archived 2012-09-09 at the Wayback Machine, Demo, January 2010, Columbia College, Chicago
  4. ^ He Makes It Look Picture-perfect, Los Angeles Times, November 21, 2007
  5. ^ "ASC Unveils List of 100 Milestone Films in Cinematography of the 20th Century". Retrieved 2019-01-12.
  6. ^ "Janusz Kaminski (1959–)". Filmreference. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
  7. ^ Phedon Papamichael Eschews Visual Flash for Authenticity, Humanity, Variety, 20 April 2016, retrieved 5 June 2024
  8. ^ Mamelstein, David (February 20, 2013). "Spielberg's Eye". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  9. ^ Sullivan, Michael (June 10, 2010). "AFI awards Kaminski". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Turnbaugh, Kristi (Fall–Winter 2013). "Shooting Stars: Columbia's award-winning cinematographers light up Hollywood". DEMO. Columbia College Chicago. p. 15. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 11, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  11. ^ Ryzik, Melena (January 11, 2012). "Cinematographers Give 'Dragon Tattoo' a Lift but Overlook 'War Horse'". The Carpetbagger. The New York Times. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  12. ^ "ASC awards Emmanuel Lubezki and 'The Tree of Life' best cinematography of 2011". Uproxx. February 13, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  13. ^ Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski Warns That Directors of Photography Are Losing Control of Images They Shoot, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 April 2018, retrieved 5 June 2024
  14. ^ The Night Witch, Creative Europe Media, retrieved 5 June 2024
  15. ^ Lit 01: "XXXXXX", Internet Archive, 18 January 2024, retrieved 5 June 2024
  16. ^ "Rebecca Rankin and Janusz Kaminski". Variety. Reed Business Information. February 16, 2004. Retrieved February 27, 2013.

External links[edit]