Tragedy struck a film set in New Mexico on Thursday when an incident with a prop gun left director Joel Souza injured and director of photography Halyna Hutchins deceased.
News about the catastrophic accident spread rapidly around social media, aided in no small part by the attention-grabbing detail that the film’s star, Alec Baldwin, was the one who fired the gun. With more particulars around the incident still to come, Baldwin’s involvement—along with broader discussions about safety on film sets, a contributing factor in the recent IATSE near-strike—threaten to eclipse the magnitude of this loss. Hutchins may not have been a world-renowned DP like Roger Deakins or Emmanuel Lubezki, but the 42-year-old talent had an impressive career in her own right.
Hutchins was born in Ukraine, where she earned a graduate degree in International Journalism from Kyiv National University. Eventually, she traded journalism for cinema, moving to America in the early 2010s and enrolling in the American Film Institute conservatory. After graduating in 2015, she quickly began making a name for herself, first in short films and commercials, and eventually features. By 2019, she would be named as one of American Cinematographer’s rising stars. Hutchins was known for having a keen eye for light and texture, and for spanning many genres, from dramas to thrillers and horror.
Joe Manganiello, who worked with Hutchins on the 2020 sci-fi film Archenemy, was one of many in Hollywood who paid tribute to the slain DP online.
In addition to her colleagues and peers, Hutchins’s fans eulogized her online, citing the quality of her work and the distinctive visuals she brought to life.
I just wanted to share some stills of Halyna Hutchins’ work and take a moment to appreciate how ridiculously difficult it is to become a DOP in the film industry, especially as woman. we’ve lost an incredible artist today pic.twitter.com/xRfjxYGHes
— kenny ♡ (@bvckystjames) October 22, 2021
I don't know a lot of Halyna Hutchins work. Not many of us do because she was just getting started. She had so much left to give. there was still a voice being developed, an incredible one. These stills are literally from the first few seconds of a film she shot called Mad Hatter pic.twitter.com/aOUqKFtVPp
— Scout Tafoya (@Honors_Zombie) October 22, 2021
Hutchins was clearly a rising talent who has a bright future ahead of her. Have a look at some of the short films she left behind below.