Today’s Google Doodle Honors Legendary Cinematographer James Wong Howe
The Google homepage has been killing it lately with their doodles, especially when it comes to introducing the public to legendary figures from the film world. Friday’s doodle honors double Oscar winner James Wong Howe, a Chinese-American cinematographer who worked with directors like Cecil B. DeMille, Howard Hawks, and Samuel Fuller.
Howe was born in Guangzhou, China, and moved to Washington when he was five years old. He made money as a professional prizefighter and then got work as an assistant to DeMille on the 1917 movie The Little American as a clapper boy. He had a long career as a cinematographer, working on such films as The Thin Man, Sweet Smell of Success, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and Bell, Book, and Candle, and won two Oscars for The Rose Tattoo in 1955 and Hud in 1963. He is considered one of the 10 most influential cinematographers in a survey of the International Cinematographers Guild in the United States.
Howe was one of the first to pioneer the use of deep-focus lenses in his cinematography, which keep both the foreground and the background in focus. He was also known for his use of light and shadow and by the end of his career, worked on over 130 films. His life was marked by racial discrimination despite his successes, and he only became a full American citizen after the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943. According to Time, the doodle was actually created last year, in partnership with his nephew Don Lee, but was withheld following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.