You might not know the name John Richardson but you certainly are familiar with his work. During a career spanning more than 50 years Richardson is responsible for some of cinema’s most iconic special effects. From his early work on films like The Dirty Dozen and Straw Dogs through to legendary work on films like James Cameron’s Aliens and Richard Donner’s Superman all the way to the likes of Harry Potter and James Bond, Richardson is cinematic royalty.
So it is with great pleasure to see the man himself has rummaged around his loft – during lockdown no less – to find a goldmine of photos he took from his days working on these indelible films. Off the back of his last book Making Movie Magic, this is a visual representation of a career that has taken in some of the biggest blockbuster special effects in history.
And what these photos illustrate with such delight is the painstaking detail and dedication it takes to create something to make an audience go “WOW” often without understanding the process of how something was brought to life.
In an era when practical effects have been usurped by endless CGI Richardson’s images illustrate the art and craft that used to go into making movie magic. There is an intricacy displayed here that would otherwise go unnoticed in the finished film. Which is of course the point but for those who occasionally want to peer behind the curtain and see how the magic is brought to life this is a delight.
What also shines through is the camaraderie of those working in the effects departments. Photos of people otherwise unseen standing near their creations, a team proud of their work, it is infectious.
A treasure trove of behind the scenes insights, Making Movie Magic – The Photographs is an inspiring look at what it takes to bring something grand to the big screen.
Making Movie Magic – The Photographs by John Richardson is available to buy now.