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On the verge: Anne Marie Fox, unit photographer for ‘Butler’

Lapacazo Sandoval | 8/22/2013, 11:23 a.m. | Updated on 8/22/2013, 11:23 a.m.

Some argue that style can be taught, while others stand firmly on the conviction that’s it is a unique trait given at conception, that it’s a part of your DNA.

Anne Marie Fox’s signature style was the first element I noticed when we met so many years ago in Los Angeles. Her second distinguishing quality is her ability to transform herself despite challenges that would make some throw in the towel. Our ability to rise like a phoenix from the ashes is a “sister-bonding” trait we both share. The third is our mutual love and experience working on film sets worldwide. The job sounds glamorous, but it’s hard work, and it’s built on relationships.

The emotional generosity of one’s film family can inspire great work, and when the alchemy is right, it produces art.

Fox is part of award-winning director Lee Daniels’ creative family, and her photographic contribution can currently be seen in his new film, “The Butler.”

Here’s what Fox had to share about Lee, making movies and her next film project.

AmNews: How did you get into this field? It isn’t easy for people of color to break into such a competitive field.

Fox: Photography had always been a passionate hobby of mine, so after the university, I decided to apply to the International Center of Photography in New York City.

They have a rigorous selection process—14 students from 14 different countries. Fortunately, I was chosen to represent America, and so, became fully engrossed in a formal photography education.

Under tutelage with the likes of the brilliant Nan Goldin, among other well-renowned art photographers, I developed a keen interest in portraiture, landscape photography and darkroom technique.

I also apprenticed with Brigitte Lacombe during that time, who was a major influence in my novice years, teaching me everything from set etiquette to photo editing and then some. She was an amazing mentor and role model as I realized my craft.

Later, I moved to Italy and France, where I worked diligently on my portfolio, shooting the odd editorial job here and there, quite unsure which genre of photography my talents were best suited for.

It wasn’t until my beloved ex-fiancé invited me to document the arduous prosthetics process he would be undergoing on Kenneth Branagh’s “Frankenstein” at Shepperton Studios in London that I found my true calling.

The very instant I set foot on that movie set, I was hooked. It was the perfect niche for me, and I vowed to devote myself to pursuing a career in still photography from that day forward.

You worked with Lee on the brilliant film “Precious.” How did that relationship begin?

I met Lee at a German Film Festival in Los Angeles, thanks to a dear friend, Rudolf Martin, who went out of his way to introduce us. Lee was in pre-production on “Shadowboxer” at the time and was already crewed up.

Two years later, I received a call from Lee’s executive producer, Lisa Cortes, inviting me to shoot stills on Lee’s film, “Tennessee,” in New Mexico. I couldn’t pack my bags fast enough. That was the first of four films I have photographed for my darling friend and mentor Lee Daniels.