Within months of receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Texas in 1973, Daniel Pearl photographed the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a legendary independent feature which is part of the permanent film collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art. He spent the next several years shooting low-budget fright flicks with high production values, most notably She Came to the Valley, The Stuntmen, and Invaders from Mars.
Pearl began shooting music videos during the early 1980s, initially to fill the spaces in-between narrative film projects. But his use of light and lens - exemplified in "Billie Jean", by Michael Jackson - breathed life into the music video art form. Pearl's work quickly became the benchmark for all music videos. He won the inaugural MTV Award for Best Cinematography in 1984 for "Every Breath You Take", by The Police, and again in 1992 for "November Rain", by Guns & Roses. Pearl has earned a total of ten MTV Video Music Award nominations - most recently for "Take a Picture", by Filter in 2000. In 1996, he was the first cinematographer to receive the MVPA Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1997 he was the first inductee into the Kodak Vision Hall of Fame for Music Video Cinematography. Most recently he was honored by the 14th CamerImage Cinematographic Festival in Lodz, Poland with their Golden Frog Award for his outstanding achievements in music video and commercial cinematography.
His contemporary work includes collaborations with Hype Williams, Andy Morahan, Paul Hunter, Marcus Nispel, F.Gary Gray and Rebecca Blake. Pearl's easily recognizable and highly influential reel is dotted with Grammy winners and the biggest names in the music industry, including Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks, Toni Braxton, Kanye West, Meatloaf, Lauryn Hill, Aerosmith, Shania Twain, Cher, Whitney Houiston, The Rolling Stones, Puff Daddy and Janet Jackson. Having photographed over three hundred commercials, Pearl also manages to create some of the advertising industry's best images - earning industry-wide acclaim for his work on Motorola's "Wings" spot in 1999, which is also in the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art.
In the summer of 2002, Pearl shot the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre for director Marcus Nispel and, in the summer of 2004, they teamed up again to shoot Frankenstein for the USA Network. It was around this time that he was asked to join the American Society of Cinematographers. In the summer of 2005, Pearl shot the feature film Captivity for director Roland Joffe, in Moscow, and upon completion went straight to work on Pathfinder. Lately, he has been spending his time more equally split between commercials and feature films, recently completing work on Alien versus Predator: Requiem, The Kings of Appletown, and Michael Bay’s Friday the Thirteen. Both Bay’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th were the top grossing films the week of their release.
Pearl was recently in Berlin filming Joel Silver’s The Apparition, directed by Todd Lincoln.