They died a week apart. One was 92, the other was 85. A mere seven years separated them in the generation that was ravaged by World War II. Yet they survived the calamity and thrived throughout their artistic careers.
Haskell Wexler and Vilmos Zsigmond were two of the best. The movies they shot represent defining moments in my life. I matured amid the the tumult of the 60s and watched as they brought their artistry to the fore just as I was beginning to doubt America in the 70s.
The work of Wexler and Zsigmond helped a poor kid from the sticks of Oregon see that there was a whole lot he didn't know or understand about the world.
That was a good thing.
Their work humbled me, inspired awe and a new appreciation of cinema's inherent possibilities. Indeed, it was as if they were speaking directly to me.
Many of us boomers felt that way. The American New Wave was our salvation as disaffiliated human beings, and these guys were no small part of the experience as they brought great art to the masses.
They were among the handful of creators who could have such profound effect on our lives.