CRESCENZO GIACOMO NOTARILE, ASC
Director of Photography
Fine Art Photography
Canon 'Explorer of Light'
Crescenzo Giacomo Notarile was raised in Brooklyn, New York from first generation Italian descent. Born of artistic lineage, Crescenzo’s parents, Maria – an interior designer and sculptress, along with her husband Vincenzo – an art director, graphic designer and painter, encouraged his creative inclination throughout his life. Graduating from high school in Huntington Long Island, with a graduating class of over 2000, Crescenzo received a high honors Cum Laude scholarship to New York University for outstanding photographic achievement, and also a high honors degree from the Nikon School of Photography for Photojournalism. Upon completing an extensive photo essay on the Homeless for a magazine, Crescenzo decided to create a 16mm black & white film of the same subject for a PSA. This allowed Crescenzo to emotionally compare and study movement contrasted by stillness, and to epitomize the feeling of kinetic energy through a single frame – a still photograph transcended into moving frames. The film was received with critical acclaim at the student festival. This experience brought Crescenzo to shift his focus from photojournalism, to motion picture filmmaking. As a result, he followed a mentor filmmaker who was teaching at The New York Institute of Technology, and transferred there immediately. He soon directed and photographed a short film on the elderly and his grandmother, titled, Old Friends, which was aired on Public Broadcast Television, and was the recipient of an award at the University’s Film Festival.
Crescenzo’s father, at this time was an Art Director/Graphic Designer for an “A List” advertising agency in New York City, and was the recipient of several Clio awards for ‘Best Commercial Art Direction’. His photographer then – amongst several, was Richard Avedon, and Crescenzo sat in on many shoots, learning the persuasive art of advertising. At this time, Crescenzo worked during his summer vacations at his father’s agency as a ‘camera production assistant’ for an in-house film production company. This is where he learned the art and craft of cinematography.
Upon graduating Cum Laude in 3 years with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Communication Arts, Crescenzo passed a test and joined I.A.T.S.E. Local 644, an International Cameraman’s Union. He very quickly worked his way up the ranks. Crescenzo worked as a cameraman for Dino De Laurentiis, and for the late spaghetti western director, Sergio Leone, on the epic Once Upon a Time in America.
Now, 30 years in the film business, Crescenzo Notarile has become an Emmy award-winning cinematographer. For the past 27 years, Crescenzo has been living and working bi-coastally in Soho New York and Los Angeles California, which continuously feeds his discriminating creative eye. It has also afforded him to qualify as a world traveler. His acutely sensitive and creative eye is constantly observing the world that surrounds him, which ‘simply waits to be seen for the first time’. He carries his camera with him always, and thus has photographed the world, dozens of times over. The result is Crescenzo’s fine art photography, which represents a pure essence of his soul, his character, and his experience as a person and as an artist in this world.
During the last twenty years, Crescenzo has been a pioneer in the art of cinematography. He has photographed over 600 music videos for many of the giant recording artists, such as: The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Mariah Carey, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Ricky Martins, Bon Jovi, Bob Dylan, Placido Domingo, Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, N’ Sync, ZZ Top, Nine Inch Nails, Aretha Franklin, amongst many others… Crescenzo has also shot over 1000 commercials as a Director of Photography for many prestigious clients such as: American Express, Gatorade, Pepsi, Revlon, AT&T, Oil of Olay, Volvo, Buick, Pontiac, Cover Girl, Diet Coke, GM, McDonalds, J.C.Penny, Yoplait, Dominos Pizza, Toshiba, Miller Genuine Draft, Molson, Home Depot, Promos for NBC, ABC, CBS, MTV, ESPN, Comedy Central, and Playboy, all to name a few…Crescenzo not only continues to work as a commercial and music video Director of Photography for top directors, such as, Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor), Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), Sam Raimi (Spiderman), Mary Lambert (Pet Cemetery), Russell Mulcahy (Highlander), Hype Williams (Belly), Marcus Nispel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), etc., but currently also works as a director. He has recently completed a series of spots for Disney On Ice, Fosse, and Playboy, and is currently in prep for the US Army.
Crescenzo also dedicated himself to the principal photography of feature films, such as Time Cop II: The Berlin Decision (2003), starring Jason Scott Lee, Bullet (1996), starring Oscar nominated Mickey Rourke, Tupac Shakur, and Oscar winner Adrien Brody, and Truth Be Told (2004), starring Regina King and Blair Underwood, released by Lions Gate Films. Crescenzo has also photographed a film for Playboy, starring Farrah Fawcett, titled, All Of Me. After witnessing directly the ‘September 11th terrorist attack in NYC, he no longer wanted to travel. He then quickly got into the long term television genre by shooting a Warner Brothers pilot, titled Skin, a television drama produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Warner Brothers for Fox Television, then onto a season of Hawaii for NBC, and several shows thereafter. Currently, Crescenzo just wrapped his 5th. television season for a number 1 show for CBS called, Ghost Whisperer.
Aside from his own writings of dramatic shorts, screenplays and dark poetry, Crescenzo is currently in negotiations with publishers to launch three books of his fine art photography. One being of his high contrast black and white infrared nudes, entitled NUDE the second – his documented ‘slice of life’ reportage moments and portraits of children from his world travels, entitled THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE DEFIANT and the third – a collaborative project with his father, today a surrealistic painter, called Father and Son, which also incorporates Crescenzo’s photography and his father’s paintings.
Crescenzo says, “working in the ‘film business’ is always extremely challenging, because you are constantly dissecting personal sensibility and its development, while being part of a very large creative process, which in turn is made up of many individuals who each hold your creative paintbrush. This makes for many demanding dynamics – towards each other as a collective process and as a human race, and most importantly, towards one’s self, with the philosophical question of one’s purpose in life.”
Crescenzo Notarile has become a genuine artist, always striving for that creative goal, as well as reaching his ultimate creative release – an emotion, a connection, a response to a stimulus – good, bad, or indifferent. All who work with Crescenzo agree that the trueness of his work transpires every time, whether it is in a solitary creative form, or a collaborative multifaceted arena.
The turning of another year, has given Crescenzo reason to pause and reflect on his goals as a working filmmaker and artist. What he realizes is that he must once again find the ‘seed’ of who he is as an individual, and how he sees and interprets his surrounding environments, contrasted with environments around the globe. “My art is the way I see and feel life. These works are the result of the pursuit of searching inward, exploring myself as a human being, probing my sexuality, my love, my anger, my compassion, my fears, my inhibitions, and my fantasies…”
Crescenzo now is concentrating once again on his photography, and has recently won top honors in many major international awards from: The Black and White Spider Awards, Photography Masters Cup, PX3 Public Choice Awards, Prix de la Photographie, International Color Awards, International Photography Awards, and has recently been awarded Canon’s most prestigious honor – ‘Explorer of Light’.
Crescenzo is an Emmy Award winner for ‘Outstanding Cinematography’, and is also a member of the ASC – American Society of Cinematography, and also a member of the SOC – Society of Camera Operators.
Keeping up with the times, contemporary mind sets and creative waves, Crescenzo is constantly finding his need to perpetually reinvent himself. He is recently a graduate of a 3D Cinematography Sony Workshop along with being a graduate and member of Canon/Createasphere HDSLR 5D Filmmaking Workshop.
Crescenzo’s mantra is: To see, is to feel… He believes it takes a lifetime to become an ‘artist’, and you cannot title yourself such, until you investigate yourself as being inside the nucleus of your mind, heart and environment. It is only then to stare creatively inward with unconditional feeling and raw honesty – hoping to manifest a language of expression that is something divine and intangible.
“My existence – my filmmaking – and my photography — are all I have. It is all I want – it is all I need – it is all I live for…”