Oral Histories

Interview of Willard Van der Veer

Portrait of a Cameraman
Interviews not in a series, part one
Film and Television
Biographical Note:
Dixon, Elizabeth I.
Van der Veer, Willard
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Elizabeth I. Dixon, Head, UCLA Oral History Program; B.A., international relations, University of Southern California: M.L.S., UCLA School of Library Service.
Interviewee Retained Copyright
Fluctuations in fortunes during lifetime; propensity toward adventure; early photographic work; photography of aerial stuntmen; activities in burgeoning field of motion picture photography; Robert Benchley and novelty films; making travel films in Caribbean, 1914-15; World War I service in photographic division of Army Signal Corps; war photography and Mathew Brady; accompanying Admiral Richard E. Byrd to North Pole; experiences as member of Byrd's first Antarctic expedition, 1928-29; expedition personnel; trip aboard square-rigger City of New York; selection of site for Little America; keeping dry and eating in Antarctic; use of sledge dogs; conditions and problems of photography at South Pole; shift from sixteen to twenty-four frames per second to accommodate sound films; effect of intense cold on equipment; aerial mapping during polar flights; story construction in expedition films; penguins, seals, and petrels; return to civilization via New Zealand and New York; Oscar awarded 1930 for Byrd expedition pictures; views on recent changes in photographic techniques; art of television, commercial, and amateur photography.