Pioneering and award-winning wildlife cinematographer Jim Frazier dies, but his legacy lives on – ABC News

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Pioneering and award-winning wildlife cinematographer Jim Frazier dies, but his legacy lives on
Pioneering and award-winning wildlife cinematographer Jim Frazier has died at age 81.
He is one of Australia's most decorated cinematographers and his legacy will live on through his passionate work to protect the environment.
Mr Frazier was known for his work on Sir David Attenborough documentaries and for inventing the ground-breaking Frazier Lens System that revolutionised the film industry.
It allowed the foreground and background of an image to be in focus at the same time and won him an Oscar in the late 1990s.
He also achieved at least 40 other national and international awards, including an Emmy, as well as an honorary doctorate, and an OAM.
He died on the NSW Mid North Coast on September 17 after a short illness, surrounded by family.
Mr Frazier was passionate about promoting the need for greater environmental protection and for the past couple of decades enjoyed living with his wife Helen on a property at Bootawa, near Taree, where they created a bird and butterfly habitat.
He described it as a "place of peace and quiescence" where he wanted to spend his final years.
He achieved that wish — the property had only recently been sold to a couple passionate about the environment, when he passed away.
Christine Calabria, who edited Mr Frazier's 2021 his autobiography, Through the Lens a Macro View of Jim Frazier, said his achievements would not be forgotten.
"He was an innovative genius," Ms Calabria said.
"His life and work will survive him and be a continuing legacy to his foresight, his innovative creations, his love for the environment, and his efforts to improve it."
Mr Frazier was awarded a Hall of Fame position at the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) in 1998 in recognition of his work and contribution to the industry. 
"He was an extraordinary cinematographer, he was an inventor, and he was a naturalist," ACS president Erika Addis said.
Ms Addis described his Frazier Lens System as "revolutionary". 
“The thing about Jim is he made the impossible, possible.," she said. 
"He designed this lens that could do what no other lens did."
Mr Frazier's cinematography career began unexpectedly through an association with author and naturalist the late Densey Clyne, whom he met in the 1960s.
They made an award-winning film together about spiders, which impressed the BBC and opened doors.
It eventually led to a long-standing business partnership with David Attenborough, including work on his Life on Earth and The Living Planet series.
It was his work in the field which inspired Frazier to create the Panavision-Frazier lens system, and the equipment went on to be used on many blockbuster international films, including Titanic and Mission Impossible, Godzilla, Green Mile, Tomorrow Never Dies and Stuart Little 2. 
At the time of his death Mr Frazier was working on a feature film project, Symphony of the Earth.
"Jim came up to me many years ago and told me about a vision that he had for the Earth; to give all animals on the earth a voice," director Rachel Dunn said. 
"He wanted to create an incredible feature film that highlights all the voices of the world. Jim and I have been working together for many years on refining that story.
"It’s hard to believe that he isn’t around still."
The team behind Symphony of the Earth will continue developing the film in Mr Frazier's legacy.
Ms Calabria said Mr Frazier had been very pleased to see that it was nearing completion.
"Jim was delighted because just a few weeks ago they did a trailer for Symphony of the Earth, and it looks like it's going to take off," she said.
"It's almost like Jim thought, 'That's my job, I've done it'.
"His last goal was the Symphony of the Earth… and I think he died in peace because of that, knowing he had achieved what he had set out to achieve."
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work.
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