Google has put up a doodle which celebrates the 118th birth anniversary of Chinese-American cinematographer James Wong Howe. James was perhaps the most celebrated cinematographer of silent and early black and white era. In his own rights, James revolutionized black and white by finding different gradients and color tones in it. With the use of black in the background white also became a little dark and film grains did the rest of the magic to make it gritty. James has been nominated for 10 academy awards, more than any cinematographer in the history.
He has won 2 academy awards for The Rose Tattoo (1955) and Hud (1963) and achieved all this before his death on July 12, 1976. Film-makers of American new wave never got to work with the genius but likes of Emmuanel Lubezski and Roger Deakins have been inspired from his techniques and body of work. Times of Black and white was about loud cinema- loud make up, background score, huge sets, and performances. James brought subtlety with his camera movements and low key lighting to give storytelling a whole new pattern and tone.
His first film was Drums of Fate in 1923 and later he did films like Confidential Agent (1945), Sweet Smell of Success (1957) and ended his career with Funny Lady (1975). Even at the time when racial discrimination was at its peak in America, James managed to work with the most Americans of film directors and highly reclusive studio heads.