Roy H. Wagner

A Cinematographer’s Life Beyond the Shadows

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About the Book

Named by Kodak as among the “100 Top Cinematographers in the World,” Roy H. Wagner is responsible for some of the most striking and unique photography in American cinema and television of the past forty years. Mentored by legendary cinematographers of Hollywood’s Golden Age and beginning his career during the revolutionary aesthetic shifts of the New Hollywood era, Wagner has brought both a studio craftsman ethic and maverick artistic sensibility to his work that includes A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Beauty and the Beast, Quantum Leap, House M.D., among many others.
This autobiography charts Roy’s life as a young small-town Midwestern dreamer to his career as an acclaimed, award-winning Hollywood filmmaker. Together with co-author Wayne Byrne, Roy takes the reader on a candid journey behind the scenes on a selection of his most notable film and television productions, revealing some of the highs and lows of a lauded Hollywood career, and detailing his professional collaborations with fellow filmmakers and industry figures such as John Badham, Richard Franklin, Seymour Friedman, Bill Froehlich, Peter O’Fallon, William Fraker, Diane Keaton, Dennis Maguire, Harry Stradling, Patrick Swayze, Kevin Tenney and many more.

About the Author(s)

Roy H. Wagner, ASC, is an Emmy Award-winning American film and television cinematographer. Throughout the past four decades he has been the director of photography on cult independent films, major studio productions, and hit television shows such as Witchboard, Return to Horror High, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Drop Zone, Nick of Time, Another Stakeout, A Rumor of Angels, Beauty and the Beast, Quantum Leap, Cristine Cromwell, Party of Five, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, House M.D., and The Beast.
Wayne Byrne is an Irish author and film historian. He has written on film and music culture for a variety of notable publications and on subjects such as Tom DiCillo, Burt Reynolds, Nick McLean, Elm Street, and Walter Hill.

Bibliographic Details

Roy H. Wagner, ASC, and Wayne Byrne
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 85 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9379-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5484-3
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

• “There is no substitute for experience, and Roy Wagner has had plenty. What’s more, he was mentored by many of Hollywood’s master cinematographers and is happy to pass along their hard-earned wisdom. This book offers straight talk for anyone who wants to know how the movie and TV business really works.”—Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian

• “This is an important book. Roy’s story is so honest and unvarnished. It’s also unusually representative of what so many of us in film go through as we learn our way. His honesty especially just blazes through all the pages and gives a legitimacy to his words that very few film biographies contain. Wayne’s questions and commentary keep the context and the time periods clear, which is crucially important in understanding Roy’s unusual rise to competency as he developed his unique methods while keeping in mind the foundational lessons he learned from his mentors. This is a special book that provides a remarkable insight into Roy’s approach to his work and his life.”—David McGiffert, first assistant director, Back to the Future trilogy, Rain Man, Witness, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Tootsie, An Officer and a Gentleman, Batman Returns, King Kong, and The Fisher King

• This is another winner for film historian Wayne Byrne. He and Roy Wagner have together authored a book which not only captures the joy of filmmaking, but truthfully presents the personal and political struggles it takes to reach the top of your game in this business. As a fellow cinematographer, I recognized and understood many of the ups and downs that Roy has gone through in his career, and which are brilliantly detailed here. This book is the real deal.”—Nick McLean, camera operator/cinematographer, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Marathon Man, The Deer Hunter, Being There, Sharky’s Machine, The Goonies, City Heat, Short Circuit, Staying Alive, Friends, Cybill, and Evening Shade