Nobody has been able to capture the expressive depth of the actors’ gaze with a camera like José Luis Alcaine. A true master of light, passionate about painting and devoted explorer of colour, Alcaine was born in Morocco in 1938, and the explosion of light that he experienced in North Africa in his early years was etched in his retina forever.
He was the son of one of the founders of the Tétouan film club, and cinema was part of his life since he was a child. It was by reading the ‘British Journal of Photography’ and enlarging and colour-grading homemade snapshots in his father’s small photography shop that he learned the trade which he would dedicate his life to.
Thanks to his mentor, Emilio Sanz de Soto, he arrived in Madrid in the 1960s to study cinematography at the Official Film School. He began his career more than fifty years ago working in the first feature films by recent EOC graduates, including filmmakers like Giménez-Rico, Betriu, Summers, Regueiro or Josefina Molina. He has worked with all the great directors, and his unique gaze has left its mark on countless classics of our cinema signed by Víctor Erice, Fernando Fernán-Gómez, Carlos Saura, Vicente Aranda, Montxo Armendáriz, Bigas Luna, Pilar Miró, Fernando Trueba, Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, José Luis García Sánchez, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, Fernando Colomo or Emilio Martínez Lázaro.
From ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ to ‘Parallel Mothers’, now showing in theatres, he has worked side by side with Pedro Almodóvar, taking care of the photography of nine of his films that are now part of the history of world cinema. In addition, international filmmakers like Adolfo Aristarain, Asghar Farhadi and Brian de Palma have requested his services as a DoP.
In the course of his award-winning career, he has been credited with the following distinctions: the National Film Award (1989), the European Academy Award for Best Photography (2006), five Goya awards (1989, 1992, 1993, 2002, 2007), the Gold Medal from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Spain (2011) or the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts (2017).