Erik Messerschmidt first worked with David Fincher as a Gone Girl gaffer—in collaboration with DP Jeff Cronenweth. But Messerschmidt got his chance to mine the auteur’s rich, iconic aesthetic as cinematographer of Netflix’s crime drama Mindhunter.
Created by Joe Penhall, with Fincher on as a director and executive producer, the 1970s-set series follows two FBI agents (played by Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany) who look to expand criminal science by delving into the psychology of murder, coming uncomfortably close to the real-life monsters who would later be deemed “serial killers.”
Messerschmidt has been praised this season for the striking, atmospheric visuals he brought to Mindhunter—his first full series as a DP— though he prefers that his work remain invisible, operating beneath the surface:
“The second the audience is aware that a human is operating the camera, subconsciously there’s an awareness that someone else is in the room. Hopefully, the audience doesn’t notice the operating, they don’t notice my work, they are only seeing what’s happening on-screen between the characters. That’s the goal.”