Renowned cinematographer Vittorio Storaro turns seventy-eight today, but don’t let his age fool you: His iconic work remains as timeless as ever. Because his father was a projectionist, young Storaro spent much of his time watching movies from a projection booth, in silence. Consequently, he came to believe that a film’s images should tell stories by themselves. Drawing heavily on classic painters for inspiration, Storaro’s use of light and color to create meaningful imagery is unparalleled. He has worked with countless directors, from Francis Ford Coppola to Bernardo Bertolucci, and has cultivated a rich and distinct visual style. In our latest installment of Language of the Image, we dive in and celebrate an artist whose work is sure to influence generations of cinematographers to come.

Watch Now: Two Films by Vittorio Storaro — The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Flamenco, Flamenco.

While you’re here check out our previous installments of Language of the Image, in which we look at the visual work of Bradford Young and Rachel Morrison. And if you still can’t get enough cinematography, check out our list of essential women cinematographers and our profile of the inimitable Roger Deakins.