VALE: Bill Constable ACS

By: Storry Walton

It is with great sadness I inform you that Bill Constable ACS died on Friday in Perth.

Many of you will know him – and his family.

His father was a great art director in the Australian film industry.

Bill was a wonderfully gifted cinematographer and DOP, concentrating mostly on documentary. He was one of the generation who seized on the documentary opportunities offered by the new light-weight cameras of the 60s which gave expression to the new wave of cinema verite in its various forms. Bill loved the Eclair but chose mostly to work with the ARRI.

He quickly caught the eye of British television companies and firms when he and Jennifer went to England. I worked with him on a number of docos for the BBC – Bill always putting his hand up for the more adventurous and even the more dangerous assignments. When no other BBC crew would contemplate it, he and I spent two weeks in howling blizzards, icy roads and screaming winds on the Isle of Man out of which Bill pulled a film of such power and beauty that it made the doughty head of the Man Alive series dewy-eyed, a state he only otherwise achieved when thinking about Samantha Fox, (the then-famous page 3 Mirror girl)

He was the founding head of Cinematography at the Australian Film and Television School and later set up a similar enterprise at Curtin University in Perth.

He un-retired to become a farmer in the beautiful hills and temperate forests in South West Australia – in Bridgetown.

Why is it, that when you look at all the cinematographers of every nation you have ever known, Australia unfailingly produces such gentlemen and sweet souls? Bill was one of them. An artist at heart, a shrewd observer of human behaviour which he amplified with his lens, a gifted teacher, and a wonderful companion to all those who ever journeyed with him.

The Society passes on its thoughts to the family and friends of Bill at this very sad time. He was a wonderful cinematographer, teacher and mentor who will be missed by all who knew him.

Ron Johanson ACS
National President