Hailed by many in the film industry as the world’s greatest cinematograper, his career spanned more than fifty years.
“He was one of those people loved by everyone,” said his friend Bengt Forslund, who also wrote Nykvist’s memoirs.
“He was one of the great cinematographers of our time, there’s no doubt about that. Primarily through his work with Ingmar Bergman, but he also found it unsually easy to make a name for himself in America.”
Sven Nykvist’s first cinematographic work was for Ingmar Bergman in the 1953 film Gycklarnas afton (released in the US under the name ‘The Naked Night’). Soon after, he filmed Salka Valka for Arne Mattsson and Karin Månsdotter for Alf Sjöberg.
His work with Bergman continued in 1960 with The Virgin Spring and then Through a Glass Darkly the following year. The pair went on to work together on all of Bergman’s important films of the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s.
Sven Nykvist won two Oscars for best cinematography, first in 1973 for Cries and Whispers and then ten years later for Fanny and Alexander.
As his reputation grew, Nykvist worked with some of the world’s great directors, such as Louis Malle, Woody Allen and Roman Polanski.
Sven Nykvist was born in Moheda in Kronoberg, on December 3rd 1922. His father was a missionary. His son is the writer and director Carl Gustaf Nykvist.