Google has rolled out a beautiful monochrome doodle to pay tribute to Chinese American cinematographer James Wong Howe on Monday (August 28) - his 118th birth anniversary.
The doodle appears as a watercolour portrait, in which a very poignant looking Wong Howe, dressed in black suit, is seen standing in front of a lit up hoarding of Google, like the ones we see in front of movie theatres in America.
What are doodles?
Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google's Home page that is intended to celebrate holidays, events, achievements, and people. The first Google Doodle, honouring the Burning Man Festival Of 1998, was designed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google had published over 2,000 regional and international Doodles through its home pages often featuring guest artist, musicians, and personalities.
Howe, the self-made man
Howe had a tough life and had to endure hardship in his earlier days. To earn his daily bread, he did all kind of odd jobs. He even had a short stint at boxing during his teenage days. This was the time when landed his first job at Hollywood – a delivering job. Though the job didn't give him much exposure as he was often asked to delivering films and picking up scraps from the bin, he slowly learnt about the intricacies of cinematography.
Howe soon became the master of light and shadow and was the first one to use deep – focus cinematography which has both foreground and distant planes in focus.
Between the 1930s and 1940s, Howe was the most sought-after cinematographers in Hollywood and was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in the Cinematography category, out of which he won twice for "The Rose Tattoo" and "Hud"
His glory didn't end here, according to a survey conducted by the members of International Cinematographers Guild in the United States, Howe was ranked among the top 10 most influential cinematographers.
Howe also aced the technique of using dark backdrops to create colour nuance in black and white films, wide angle lenses, low key lighting, and colour lightning. He was also the first one to adopt crab dolly.
However, not all were roses for Howe. He faced several setbacks in his personal life because of his Chinese origin. While he barely managed to become US citizen, his marriage to Sanora Babb wasn't recognized until 1948, after the Chinese Exclusion Acts, which prohibit interracial marriage, was banned. He died at the age of 76.