Michael Ballhaus, the German-born cinematographer—known for using the camera’s movement to give a sense of the psychological and emotional states of a film’s characters—has lent his distinct eye to many of the world’s best filmmakers, perhaps most famously the German wunderkind Rainer Werner Fassbinder, with whom Ballhaus influenced the style of the New German Cinema movement. During the 70s he developed his signature 360-degree tracking shot while working on the claustrophobic melodrama Martha. After Fassbinder’s passing in 1982, Ballhaus went on to work with many other filmmakers (including Martin Scorsese and James L. Brooks), both in Germany and the United States.
After fifty-plus years behind the camera, Michael passed away on 12 April 2017, aged 81. He will be deeply missed.