About Robert Primes
Robert Primes, ASC apprenticed with Thomas Alva Edison in the early days of motion pictures. Even though he only appeared in a diaper, there are those who say he left his mark on future moving imagery. Somewhat later, he dragged his wife, pianist Theodora Primes, kicking and screaming away from San Francisco to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood. After a roller coaster career as a director of photography in commercials, documentaries, TV, special effects and features both big and small, he joined the Director's Guild and nothing happened. Absolutely nothing! But by now, Bob was a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, had won two Emmys from 4 nominations, an ASC award and a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Camera Operators. Currently he teaches cinematography at the American Film Institute, keeps up with emerging technologies and pretends to have more work than he really has.
Episodic television work includes Nightstalker, MDs, (ASC cinematography award), Felicity (Emmy for cinematography and ASC award nomination), , Young Americans, Quantum Leap and thirtysomething. Pilots include Sleeper Cell (Emmy nomination for cinematography), 1/4 Life, Georgetown (w/ Helen Mirren), Reasonable Doubts (ASC award nomination), Malibu Shores, The Pastor’s Wife, Golden Gate, All Together Now, and Get Smart. His television movies include My Antonia (Emmy for cinematography and Cable Ace nomination), Harrison: Cry of the City (Emmy nomination for cinematography), Sandy Bottom Orchestra and Sealed with a Kiss.
Robert Primes Professional Bio
Robert Primes, ASC studied mathematics at Reed College in Oregon and classical piano at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he met his wife, pianist Theodora Carras Primes. An involvement with still photography led to his becoming a film-maker in San Francisco for eleven years. During that time his short films and documentaries won awards including a first prize at the Atlanta Film Festival and a Cine Golden Eagle. He has been a Hollywood-based Director of Photography since 1975. In 2008 he was awarded the President’s lifetime achievement award from the Society of Camera Operators. His feature credits include Baadasssss! with Mario van Peebles, Bird on a Wire with Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn, The Hard Way with James Woods and Michael J. Fox, Money Talks with Charlie Sheen and Chris Tucker, A Murder of Crows with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Aspen Extreme.
He has served as a vice president and treasurer of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), and supervised the programs for their meetings from 1994 through 2005. He serves on the national executive board of the International Cinematographers Guild, chaired numerous guild committees and participated in contract negotiations. He has represented American cinematographers in Tokyo, Bangkok and twice in Madrid, where he judged international feature film cinematography.
He designed and teaches the cinematography lab at the American Film Institute and has lectured at UCLA, California Institute for the Arts, the North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Texas and The International Film Workshops at Rockport, Maine. Mr. Primes served on the SMPTE committee on high definition TV formatting and has been a judge for the Motion Picture Academy technical awards. He championed the rights of cinematographers and directors to have their work presented as it was originally created and, with Martin Scorsese in Washington D.C., lobbied members of congress on Artists Rights issues.