Steven Poster

Film / Graduate Film


A Chicago native, Steven Poster began his college education at Southern Illinois University as a member of a special program conceived by Buckminster Fuller, the master of problem-solving through deductive reasoning. Transferring to the Los Angeles ArtCenter College of Design, Poster learned how to 'see light' and was taught a true professional discipline. Returning to Chicago, he graduated from the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he was greatly influenced by the philosophy of Bauhaus design —that form should follow function.

Steven Poster launched his cinematography career in Chicago, at age twenty-one, and began with filming television commercials, cinema verite documentaries, and industrial films. He soon moved on to feature films, working as Second Unit Director of Photography on "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and did significant additional photography on "Blade Runner."

As Director of Photography, Poster has filmed a variety of motion pictures including "Stuart Little 2," "Daddy Day Care," "Rocky V," "The Cemetery Club," "Life Stinks," "Opportunity Knocks," "Next of Kin," "Big Top Pee-wee," and "Testament" as well as the controversial, award-winning music video for Madonna, "Like a Prayer." He received an ASC nomination for Best Cinematography for Ridley Scott's "Someone To Watch Over Me" and has the distinction of being the only American cinematographer to shoot a French-language film in France, "Une Chance sur Deux" for director Patrice Leconte. 

Steven Poster began collaborating with the young, innovative writer/director, Richard Kelly, in 2001, with the infamous cult-favorite "Donnie Darko" and continued with "Southland Tales" in 2006, which was chosen for full competition at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. In 2009 Poster filmed "Spread" Director David Mackenzie's first American movie which starred Ashton Kutcher. In 2012 Poster completed the pilot for the upcoming Netflix series "Hemlock Grove" by Director Eli Roth.

Steven Poster is President of the International Cinematographers Guild, a seven thousand-member trade union representing camera workers and film publicists across the United States. He was formerly a member of the Executive Board of the International Documentary Association and is currently on the committee of the Nicholl Fellowship of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


  • FILM-130-01: Intro to Cinematography