Door 1: Robby Müller© Robby Müller Estate Courtesy Robby Müller Estate
Watching Wim Wenders' 1984 film Paris, Texas one is captured by the performance of the actors, the quality of the director, the sublime soundtrack by Ry Cooder, but also questions who shot these amazing pictures. The man behind the camera is Wim Wender's longtime collaborator, the Dutch cinematographer Roby Müller.
Born in 1940 in the Netherlands Antilles, now Curaçao, he moved a lot during his childhood as his father was working in the oil industry. His interest in filming and photography started early. His father was an avid hobby photographer and he regularly took his camera.
After moving to Amsterdam, he studied at the Netherlands Film Academy from 1960 until 1964. While working on a film in 1968 he met the young film student Wim Wenders, who later asked him to work with him on his final University assignment. This led to a long and fruitful collaboration with films like Alice in the Cities (1974), Kings of the Road (1976), The American Friend (1977) and the aforementioned Paris, Texas.
This work brought him international attention and led him to work with directors like Jim Jarmusch, William Friedkind, Peter Bogdanovich, Barbet Schroeder, Lars von Trier and also Steve McQueen. Despite his success and increased interest from Hollywood, he never completely gave in to its industry, always looking to work with directors that challenged the status quo.
His work is defined by his use of light, using mostly natural light. Thereby he also appreciated and cherished the flaws, that others tried to avoid, and made them his own. His work with light led to comparisons with Dutch master painters such as Vermeer. His work was defined by spontaneity, adapting to the situation on the set. For him it was possible to work on a set never have read the script.
Kensington Motel, Santa Monica, L.A, 1985 Polaroid 600 © Robby Müller Estate Courtesy Robby Müller Estate
Robby Müller died in 2018 after having suffered from vascular dementia for several years. Recently his Polaroid-photographs, taken between 1970 and 1990 of daily life situations were shown. These pictures also show his keen eye and his sensibility of light that he is known for.