Erik Messerschmidt
Messerschmidt in 2021
Born (1980-10-23) October 23, 1980 (age 43)
Alma materEmerson College
Years active2001–present
OrganizationAmerican Society of Cinematographers
Naiara Eizaguirre-Paulos
(m. 2020)
WebsiteOfficial website

Erik Messerschmidt, ASC (born October 23, 1980)[1] is an American cinematographer. He is best known for his collaborations with director David Fincher on the films Mank and The Killer (as director of photography) and Gone Girl (as gaffer), and on the Netflix series Mindhunter. He has also shot episodes of the TV series Fargo, Legion, and Raised by Wolves.[2] His work has been nominated for an Emmy. In April 2021, he won the top ASC Award and the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for Mank.[3]


After relocating to Los Angeles, Messerschmidt served as a gaffer on TV series such as Bones, Everybody Hates Chris, and Mad Men. He also gained experience as a director of photography during this time, shooting commercials, short films, and documentaries. Messerschmidt had a working relationship with cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, who recommended him to director David Fincher. Fincher hired Messerschmidt as a gaffer on Gone Girl and, later, as director of photography for most episodes of Mindhunter and Mank.[4][5][6] With Mindhunter, Messerschmidt explained that the color palette, "has a desaturated green-yellow look... [it] helps give the show its period feel". He stated the effect is achieved through production design, costumes and filming locations—not necessarily through lighting used on set.[7][8]

Personal life

Messerschmidt was born in Portland, Maine, and grew up in Cape Elizabeth.[9][10] He studied film production at Emerson College in Boston, where he was a classmate of filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar and served as co-director of photography on Zagar's award-winning indie documentary In a Dream (2008).[11] In May 2020, he married Naiara Eizaguirre-Paulos.[12][13]



Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Director Notes
2008 In a Dream Jeremiah Zagar Documentary; co-cinematographer with Mark Stetz
2020 Mank David Fincher Academy Award for Best Cinematography
ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Satellite Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Cinematography
2022 Devotion J. D. Dillard
2023 The Killer David Fincher
Ferrari Michael Mann


Year Title Director(s) Notes
2017–2019 Mindhunter David Fincher
Andrew Douglas
Asif Kapadia
Tobias Lindholm
Carl Franklin
Andrew Dominik
16 episodes
Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography (For "Episode 6")
2018–2019 Legion Noah Hawley
Dana Gonzales
John Cameron
S2.E9 - Chapter 17
S2.E10 - Chapter 18
S3.E8 - Chapter 27
2020 Fargo Dana Gonzales S4.E11 - "Storia Americana"
Raised by Wolves Sergio Mimica-Gezzan
James Hawes
S1.E5 - "Infected Memory"
S1.E6 - "Lost Paradise"
S1.E9 - "Umbilical"
TBA Sinking Spring Ridley Scott[14]

Awards and recognition

In 2009, Messerschmidt and Mark Stetz were nominated for the Golden Frog Award at Camerimage, The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, for their work on In a Dream.[15]

On February 5, 2020, Messerschmidt was admitted as a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.[16]

On July 28, 2020, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his work on "Episode 6" of the Netflix series Mindhunter's second season, for the category Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour).[17] The award went to M. David Mullen for an episode of Amazon Prime Video's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.[18]

On December 17, 2020, Messerschmidt's work on Mank was nominated for the Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cinematography.[19] On December 21, it was announced that he had won the award.[20]

On April 18, 2021, he won the top award from the American Society of Cinematographers, Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases, for his work on Mank.[3]

On April 25, 2021, he won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for Mank.[21]


  1. ^ "Erik E Messerschmidt". FamilySearch. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  2. ^ "Erik Messerschmidt, ASC, Director of Photography" (PDF). DDA Talent. DDA. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Tangcay, Jazz (April 18, 2021). "'Mank' Wins Top Honor at ASC Awards". Variety. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  4. ^ Sharf, Zack (June 12, 2020). "'Mank' Producer Says Fincher's New Film Feels Like a 1930s Movie: 'It's an Incredible Piece'". IndieWire. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  5. ^ "Nine Inch Nails: 9 Things We Learned from Our Visit to Trent Reznor's Studio". Revolver. December 23, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Chitwood, Adam (September 5, 2020). "First 'Mank' Images Reveal David Fincher's Netflix Movie About the Making of 'Citizen Kane'". Collider. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Nedomansky, Vashi. "David Fincher: Into The Darkness | VashiVisuals Blog". Archived from the original on January 14, 2020. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  8. ^ O'Falt, Chris (October 19, 2017). "From 'Zodiac' to 'Mindhunter': 5 Visual Elements that Define David Fincher's Cinematic Universe". IndieWire. Archived from the original on January 14, 2020. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  9. ^ Burnham, Emily (April 26, 2021). "Maine native wins Best Cinematography for 'Mank' at Academy Awards". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on April 26, 2021. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  10. ^ Routhier, Ray (March 15, 2021). "Cape Elizabeth native gets Oscar nomination for work on 'Mank'". Portland Press-Herald. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  11. ^ "Spotlight on gaffer Erik Messerschmidt". Arri. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  12. ^ "Un paseo de 'désescalade', el Viggo de Celta y planeta Naiara". El Diario Vasco (in Spanish). June 27, 2020. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  13. ^ "Nnanook on Instagram: "Ya es oficial !!! Nos hemos casado via "zoom". 80 invitados de todas las partes del mundo, desde Sydney a Sudáfrica pasando por Nueva…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "Six Days of Reshoots Set For Ridley Scott's 'Sinking Spring'". World of Reel. February 27, 2023. Retrieved June 29, 2023.
  15. ^ Camerimage Awards
  16. ^ "ASC Welcomes Erik Messerschmidt as a New Active Member". The American Society of Cinematographers. February 5, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  17. ^ Desowitz, Bill (August 21, 2020). "'Mindhunter': Expanding the Visual Aesthetic for Season 2's Atlanta Child Murders". IndieWire. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  18. ^ "72nd Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners: Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series (One Hour)". Emmys. Television Academy. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  19. ^ "2020 FLORIDA FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD NOMINATIONS". Florida Film Critics Circle. December 17, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  20. ^ "2020 FFCC Winners". Florida Film Critics Circle. December 21, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  21. ^ Davis, Clayton (March 11, 2021). "2021 Oscars Predictions: All Awards Categories". Variety. Archived from the original on March 14, 2021. Retrieved March 16, 2021.