Janusz Kaminski

Janusz Kaminski (June 27, 1959) is an award-winning Polish cinematographer closely associated with American director Steven Spielberg. He rose to prominence in 1993 after he received an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Spielberg’s historical bio-drama Schindler’s List. He subsequently has worked on all of Spielberg’s live-action films. Kaminski won his second and–to date–final Academy Award for his work on Saving Private Ryan, again for cinematography. Janusz has directed three films: Lost Souls (2000), Hania (2007) and American Dream (2011).

Kamiński was born in Ziębice, Poland to Jadwiga Celner–his mother–and Marian Kaminski–his father–on June 27, 1959. He emigrated from Poland in 1981 at age 21 to the United States to escape governmental suppression.

He attended Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois from 1982 to 1987 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, taking up film-making as a profession before transferring to the AFI Conservatory, where he graduated with an Master of Fine Arts degree.

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.

He has won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography twice in his career, for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. He has been nominated four additional times for AmistadThe Diving Bell and the ButterflyWar Horse and Lincoln. In 2010, he was awarded the Franklin J. Schaffer Alumni Medal by the AFI Conservatory.

Kamiński was married to actress Holly Hunter from 1995 until 2001. He married ABC reporter Rebecca Rankin in 2004.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Janusz was recruited to serve as the Director of Photography on the production of the Jurassic Park sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park. He chose to deliberately part ways with the style chosen for Jurassic Park. The first film was to have a sterile, clean and clinical style that evoked the cleanliness and cold nature of a man-ruled world. Instead he went with a murkier, darker and grittier feel for the sequel as the setting was supposed to be a place that had flourished and grown without man’s intervention, it was a place that nature had taken over and erased man’s footprint. The result was a more wild and darker shoot that utilized blue filters, nighttime set pieces, muted lighting, extensive use of smoke, steam and fog and remote locations far from civilization or any evidence of man.

Selected Filmography

  • Schindler’s List (1993)**
  • Jerry Maguire (1996)
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
  • Amistad (1997)*
  • Saving Private Ryan (1998)**
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
  • War of the Worlds (2005)
  • Munich (2005)
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)*
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
  • The Adventures of Tin Tin (2011)
  • War Horse (2011)*
  • Lincoln (2012)*


-(*) Denotes Academy Award Nomination
-(**) Denotes Academy Award Win