Seamus McGarvey
McGarvey filming The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Born (1967-06-29) 29 June 1967 (age 56)
Occupation(s)Cinematographer, director

Seamus McGarvey, ASC, BSC (born 29 June 1967) is a cinematographer from Armagh, Northern Ireland.[1] He lives in Tuscany, Italy.

He has received two Academy Award nominations for his cinematography, on Joe Wright's 2007 drama Atonement and his 2012 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina.

In addition to the Oscar nominations, McGarvey won the British Society of Cinematographers (B.S.C.) award for Anna Karenina and for Nocturnal Animals, as well as a nomination for Atonement, and earned BAFTA noms for Atonement, Anna Karenina and Nocturnal Animals. He received A.S.C. nods for Atonement and Anna Karenina. Atonement earned him nominations for the British Independent Film Award, the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society, and he received the top honor from the Phoenix Film Critics Society.

McGarvey has won three Evening Standard British Film Awards for Atonement, Anna Karenina and Stephen Daldry's The Hours and six Irish Film & Television Awards for Atonement, Anna Karenina, Sahara and We Need to Talk About Kevin, Nocturnal Animals and The Greatest Showman. In 2004, he was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's prestigious Lumiere Medal, with Jack Cardiff, Freddie Francis, Roger Deakins and Ridley Scott, for contributions to the art of cinematography.

Early life

McGarvey was born in Armagh, Northern Ireland.[2][3] He began his career as a still photographer, before attending film school at the University of Westminster in London.


Upon graduating in 1988, he began shooting short films and documentaries, including ''Skin'', directed by Vincent O'Connell, which was nominated for a Royal Television Society Cinematography Award, and Atlantic, directed by Sam Taylor-Wood. The latter project, an experimental, three-screen projected film created in 1997, earned Taylor-Wood a nomination for the 1998 Turner Prize and led to an ongoing collaboration between McGarvey and the director.

His four dozen credits as director of photography include Joss Whedon's superhero film The Avengers; Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin; Oliver Stone's World Trade Center; Gary Winick's Charlotte's Web; John Hamburg's Along Came Polly; Stephen Frears' High Fidelity; Mike Nichols' Wit; Michael Apted's Enigma; Michael Winterbottom's Butterfly Kiss; and two projects marking actors' directorial debuts: Tim Roth's The War Zone and Alan Rickman's The Winter Guest. He served as cinematographer on the pilot for the TV series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, directed by Anthony Minghella.

He reunited with director Wright for his 2009 drama The Soloist, and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood (now Sam Taylor-Johnson) on her acclaimed 2008 drama Nowhere Boy, her 2011 short, James Bond Supports International Women's Dayand the Death Valley segment of the 2006 erotic drama Destricted. Following his work on Godzilla, he teamed with Taylor-Johnson on her big screen adaptation, and Hollywood directorial debut, of the bestselling novel Fifty Shades of Grey. He has photographed Pan, The Accountant, Nocturnal Animals, Life, The Greatest Showman, Greta, and Bad Times at the El Royale, and The Nevers.

His documentary work includes Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home, which followed his work on Wright's The Soloist, and filmed in the same locales; Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction; Rolling Stones: Tip of the Tongue; and The Name of This Film Is Dogme95.

Supplementing his work on features and telefilms, McGarvey has photographed and directed over 100 music videos for various artists, including Coldplay, Paul McCartney, Dusty Springfield, The Rolling Stones, U2, and Robbie Williams.

In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Dundee University and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Ulster. He is an Honorary Fellow of Edinburgh College of Art. He is featured in the book In Conversation with Cinematographers by David A. Ellis and in the book Ballinger, Alexander; New Cinematographers (2004) ISBN 978-1-85669-334-9.

McGarvey was meant to serve as cinematographer on Spider-Man: No Way Home, but exited after contracting COVID-19 and was replaced with Mauro Fiore.[4]


Short film

Year Title Director
1990 I Love You Sarah Miles
1992 Damsel Jam
1994 The Take Out Jamie Thraves
Skin Tight John Forte
A Sort of Homecoming Dudi Appleton
Coloured Barrie White
1995 Hello, Hello, Hello David Thewlis
Skin Vincent O'Connell
1997 Magic Moments Saul Metzstein
1998 Flying Saucer Rock'n'Roll Enda Hughes
The End Joe Wright
2008 Love You More Sam Taylor-Johnson
2011 James Bond Supports International Women's Day
2016 Kitty Chloë Sevigny

Feature film

Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Director Notes
1995 Butterfly Kiss Michael Winterbottom
1997 The Winter Guest Alan Rickman
1999 I Could Read the Sky Nichola Bruce
The Big Tease Kevin Allen
The War Zone Tim Roth
A Map of the World Scott Elliott
2000 High Fidelity Stephen Frears
2001 Enigma Michael Apted
2002 The Hours Stephen Daldry
2003 The Actors Conor McPherson
2004 Along Came Polly John Hamburg
2005 Sahara Breck Eisner
2006 Charlotte's Web Gary Winick
World Trade Center Oliver Stone
2007 Atonement Joe Wright
2009 Nowhere Boy Sam Taylor-Wood
The Soloist Joe Wright
2011 We Need to Talk About Kevin Lynne Ramsay
2012 Anna Karenina Joe Wright
The Avengers Joss Whedon
2014 Godzilla Gareth Edwards
2015 Fifty Shades of Grey Sam Taylor-Wood
Pan Joe Wright With John Mathieson
2016 Nocturnal Animals Tom Ford
The Accountant Gavin O'Connor
2017 Life Daniel Espinosa
The Greatest Showman Michael Gracey
2018 Greta Neil Jordan
Bad Times at the El Royale Drew Goddard
2021 Cyrano Joe Wright
2023 Wonka Paul King Uncredited
TBA Without Blood Angelina Jolie Post-production


Year Title Director Notes
1994 Screen Two Nick Ward Episode "Look Me in the Eye"
2001 Wit Mike Nichols TV movie
2008 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Anthony Minghella Episode #1.1.
2016 Black Mirror Joe Wright Episode "Nosedive"
2021 The Nevers Joss Whedon 2 episodes
2023 M Joe Wright 8 Episodes

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Year Title Category Result
2008 Atonement Best Cinematography Nominated
2013 Anna Karenina Nominated

BAFTA Awards

Year Title Category Result
2007 Atonement Best Cinematography Nominated
2012 Anna Karenina Nominated
2016 Nocturnal Animals Nominated

American Society of Cinematographers

Year Title Category Result
2007 Atonement Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography Nominated
2012 Anna Karenina Nominated

Other awards

Year Award Category Title Result
2007 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Cinematography Atonement Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Best Cinematography Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Best Cinematography Nominated
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Best Cinematography Nominated
2012 Satellite Awards Best Cinematography Anna Karenina Nominated
2016 Critics Choice Association Best Cinematography Nocturnal Animals Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Best Cinematography Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Cinematography Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Cinematography Nominated

Further reading


  1. ^ "Seamus McGarvey | Edinburgh International Film Festival".
  2. ^ "Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey Public Interview". IFTN. 28 April 2008. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Seamus McGarvey | Edinburgh International Film Festival". 15 February 2015.
  4. ^ Coleman, Maureen (12 May 2021). "Covid diagnosis forces Seamus McGarvey to quit duties on Spider-Man film". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 12 January 2022.