Robby Müller Archive
The Robby Müller Archive keeps and manages the personal archive of cinematographer Robby Müller and focuses primarily on the preservation and promotion of his photographic work.
Müller had a gift for finding beauty in the most unlikely places. To understand how he succeeded in this in his work as a world-renowned and highly influential cinematographer, it is worth examining his off-duty camera work. Because Müller was always photographing and filming in his spare time, his work and life were inextricably linked. In addition to about two thousand Polaroid photographs, the archive contains a vast number of negatives taken with various film and photo cameras.
It is the intention of the archive to gradually make his photographic work accessible to the public through exhibitions and publications in the hopes of preserving his remarkable aesthetic vision and hopefully continuing to inspire many.
Cinematographer Robby Müller (Curaçao, 1940−Amsterdam, 2018) was one of the greatest pioneers in his field. Raised in Indonesia and the Netherlands, Müller studied at the Dutch Film Academy in the early Sixties. As assistant to cinematographer Gérard Vandenberg, he left for Germany, where he met Wim Wenders. Their long-lasting collaboration included such iconic road movies as Alice in den Städten (1974), Im Lauf der Zeit (1976), and Paris, Texas (1984).
From the late 1970s, Müller also worked with directors such as Peter Bogdanovich, William Friedkin, and Barbet Schröder. A remarkable collaboration arose with Jim Jarmusch for the exquisite black-and-white films Down by Law (1986) and Dead Man (1995), in addition to the film Mystery Train (1989), with its bold use of color.
In the Nineties, Müller met with Lars von Trier with whom he experimented on radical new techniques such as handheld (video)camera work in Breaking the Waves (1996) and Dancer in the Dark (2000). During a four-decade long career comprising of almost 100 projects, he also collaborated with visual artists such as Steve McQueen, whose installation for Documenta 11, Carib’s Leap (2002), he shot.
Müller’s point of departure, when turning the pages of a script into images in a frame, was always the story being told and the emotional resonance it evoked. Famed for his treatment of light and shadow, he had an enormous gift for working with the available, natural light when composing his characteristic wide shots and long takes.
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Robby Müller Award
In remembrance of Robby Müller and as a tribute to his legacy, the Netherlands Society of Cinematographers, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Andrea Müller-Schirmer established the Robby Müller Award in 2020. The award is presented annually for exceptional artistic contributions to film.
↗ Read more about the Robby Müller Award
Living the Light – Robby Müller
For her film essay Living the Light – Robby Müller (2018), filmmaker Claire Pijman combined archival footage of Müller with excerpts from his cinematic oeuvre and interviews with colleagues, friends, and family.
↗ Watch Living the Light – Robby Müller
Some Music for Robby Müller
Music on this website is from SQÜRL (Carter Logan and Jim Jarmusch), originally written as a soundtrack for the documentary Living the Light – Robby Müller.
↗ Listen to Some Music for Robby Müller
↗ More about SQÜRL
Design and Concept: Marius Schwarz
Programming: François Girard-Meunier
All images and texts © Robby Müller Archive, 2021