Altman has served as a camera operator and director of photography on an impressive number of award-winning feature films and television series since the maverick days of American filmmaking in the 1970s.
The son of legendary filmmaker Robert Altman and Kathryn Reed, Robert Reed Altman grew up with a passion for film in his blood. Altman began his career serving as assistant camera on the films that would catapult the elder Altman into the pantheon of great American directors: Nashville (1975), Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson (1976), A Wedding (1978)_, _Popeye (1979)_, HealtH (1980), Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982), Streamers (1983), and Fool for Love (1985). Many of these films, now considered classics, also garnered critical praise, including numerous Academy Awards for Nashville (1975).
Following this succession of Hollywood hits, Altman shifted gears and gravitated to television, where he served as camera operator on the acclaimed TV series Alien Nation(1989), Tales of the City (1993), Melrose Place (1992), and Robert Altman’s Gun (1997). Robert Reed Altman also served as second unit DP on the hit TV series The Wonder Years(1988).
In 2004, Altman made his mark as director of photography on director Robert Altman’s and writer/cartoonist Garry Trudeau‘s Tanner on Tanner (2004). A hit at the Sundance Film Festival, the film was a follow-up to Altman and Trudeau’s documentary-style Emmy-winning masterpiece Tanner ’88 (1988). The new Tanner, a four-part series following the new adventures of frictional presidential nominee Tanner, was filmed to coincide with the Bush-Kerry elections.
In between his work for television, Robert Reed Altman continues to return to feature filmmaking as a camera operator or cinematographer. Other credits include “Looking for Trouble” (1996)_ for Roger Corman; several projects directed by Robert Altman, Kansas City (1996), The Gingerbread Man (1998), Cookie’s Fortune (1999), Dr. T & the Women(2000); as well as the more recent films Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), directed by Kevin Smith, and The Scorpion King (2002), starring Dwayne Johnson, AKA The Rock.