Chris La Fountaine ASC grew up on a sound stage. His father, cinematographer George La Fountaine ASC, started the firm responsible for the visual look of projects from Hee-Haw to Continental Airlines and the Ford Granada. Watching his dad shoot commercials and classic shows like WKRP in Cincinnati, Newhart, and Dear John, drew Chris toward a career behind the camera.
Shortly after graduating from UC Berkeley, Chris was blessed with a string of enormous breaks. He landed a day call on his favorite show; the top-rated Hill Street Blues; a day call that lasted until the series ended two years later. Determined to soak up everything he could, Chris spent those years watching cinematographer Jack Whitman ASC employ his minimalist lighting technique on a cinematically groundbreaking series; a fantastic gift so early in Chris’ career and the best film school imaginable.
Chris caught another tremendous break when he was offered a position with the legendary cinematographer and ASC Lifetime Achievement recipient, Richard Kline ASC. Twice nominated for Academy Awards for Camelot and King Kong, Mr. Kline broke new ground in cinematography with The Boston Strangler, The Andromeda Strain, Soylent Green, Who’ll Stop the Rain, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Body Heat. When Mr. Kline learned Chris was interested in what happened to the image after it left the camera, he graciously allowed Chris to tag along to dailies as part of his training. Every morning at 5 A.M., Chris observed this great artist shape images that would then be added to a magnificent body of work. This schooling by Mr. Kline continued on numerous commercials and features, invaluable guidance and mentoring that became a huge influence on Chris’ development as a cinematographer and storyteller.
After several years of working as a Director of Photography on series and pilots, Chris seized the opportunity to work with renowned director and executive producer Pam Fryman on a very ambitious how; How I Met Your Mother. All those mornings with Mr. Kline paid off with a prestigious 2006 EMMY AWARD FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY. He was again honored for his work on HIMYM with back-to-back EMMY AWARDSFOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY in 2013 and 2014, while also nominated both years in the same category for his work on the hit show Two Broke Girls. Chris was also nominated in the very competitive 2011 and 2012 seasons.
When not rooting for CAL, where he played football and volleyball, and met his beautiful wife, Shelley (Go Bears!), he enjoys spending family time with his two grown sons, Craig and Trevor, playing beach volleyball or going to the movies to study the latest offering from the world’s great cinematographers. He is a proud member of the American Society of Cinematographers.
For the past 30 years, Chris has worked with many of the brightest and most talented people in the television business. Here are a few quotes:
“Chris creates a look on camera that perfectlysets the scene before a word of dialogue is uttered. He works harder thananyone can imagine, yet seems to make it all look effortless. Chris istremendously talented, and as if that’s not enough, he’s also the nicest guyI’ve ever met. In short, I’m a fan.”
— Pam Fryman
“Many directors and producers are amazed withChris’ remarkable ability to shoot in the most inhospitable places. Chris cantake a very simple scene and make it highly emotional, wonderfully unorthodox,and deliciously unpredictable.”
— Carter Bays & Craig Thomas
“Chris’ amazing artistry can turn the ordinary sitcom environment into something that looks as special and magical as film.”
— Michael PatrickKing
“The wonderful thing about Chris is he truly believes that great cinematography conveys place, time, and emotion whereby the ordinary becomes memorable.”
— Suzy Greenberg
“Chris is the fastest, brightest and mosttalented DP I have ever worked with”
— Tim Kaiser