Boris Kaufman

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This article is about the cinematographer. For other uses, see Boris Kaufman (disambiguation).
This name uses Eastern Slavic naming customs; the patronymic is Abelevich and the family name is Kaufman.
Boris Kaufman
Born Boris Abelevich Kaufman
(1897-08-24)August 24, 1897
Białystok, Poland
Died June 24, 1980(1980-06-24) (aged 82)
New York City, New York, United States
Alma mater University of Paris
Occupation Cinematographer
Relatives Dziga Vertov
Mikhail Kaufman

Boris Abelevich Kaufman, A.S.C. (Russian: Бори́с Абра́мович Ка́уфман; August 24, 1897 – June 24, 1980) was a cinematographer.[1][2]

He was the younger brother of filmmakers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman.

Kaufman was born into a family of Jewish intellectuals living in Białystok at the time when Congress Poland was a part of the Russian Empire.

After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Poland regained its independence, and Boris moved there with his parents. Mikhail and Denis stayed in the Soviet Union and became notable Soviet filmmakers producing avant-garde and agitprop films. The three brothers later stayed in touch mainly by way of letters; Vertov visited Boris Kaufman in Paris twice, in 1929 and 1931.

After graduating from the University of Paris, Boris turned to cinematography.[citation needed] He collaborated with Jean Vigo and later Dimitri Kirsanoff.

During World War II, he served in the French Army against the Nazis and when France lost he managed to escape to Canada. After working briefly with John Grierson, for the National Film Board of Canada, Kaufman moved to the United States in 1942.

He supported himself shooting short subjects and documentaries until Elia Kazan chose him to shoot his first American feature film, On the Waterfront (1954), for which Kaufman won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and Golden Globe Award (1955). For the film Baby Doll (1956), Kaufman received a second Oscar nomination.[citation needed]

He was the director of photography on Sidney Lumet's first film, 12 Angry Men (1957), and The Pawnbroker (1964), among other notable films.

Boris Kaufman retired in 1970 and died in New York City in 1980.



  1. ^ "Boris Kaufman". 
  2. ^ "Boris Kaufman". The New York Times. 

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