Boris Kaufman

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This article is about the cinematographer. For other people with the same name, 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
(1906-08-24)August 24, 1906
Białystok, Poland
Died June 24, 1980(1980-06-24) (aged 73)
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, 1906 – June 24, 1980) was a cinematographer[1][2] and the younger brother of filmmakers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman. Kaufman was born into a family of Jewish intellectuals in Białystok when Congress Poland was 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 filmmakers, producing avant-garde and agitprop films. The brothers later stayed in touch primarily by letters; Vertov visited Boris Kaufman in Paris twice, in 1929 and 1931.

After graduating from the University of Paris Kaufman turned to cinematography,[citation needed] collaborating with Jean Vigo and Dimitri Kirsanoff. During World War II, he served in the French Army against the Nazis; when France fell, Kaufman escaped to Canada. After working briefly with John Grierson for the National Film Board of Canada, he moved to the United States in 1942.

Kaufman supported himself by filming short subjects and documentaries until director Elia Kazan chose Kaufman to make his American film debut as Director of Photography for On the Waterfront (1954), for which Kaufman won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Black and White) and a 1955 Golden Globe Award. For Baby Doll (1956), he received a second Oscar nomination.[3] Kaufman was director of photography for Sidney Lumet's first film, 12 Angry Men (1957), and The Pawnbroker (1964). Retiring in 1970, he died in New York City in 1980.



  1. ^ "Boris Kaufman". 
  2. ^ "Boris Kaufman". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ "Cinematography (Black-and-White)". 1957 Oscars. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 

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