excerpt from David Klein, ASC ICG Magazine
"Tari Segal is one of the best cinematographers I know who also happens to be overwhelmingly underrated," avows Director of Photography David Klein. "Tari has the soul of an artist. She also has the mind of a scientist. Her innovation is relentlessly devoted to the story being told. There's no piece of equipment that drives Tari's interest in tech; her interest in tech is driven by her desire to tell the story appropriately. If this drives interest in something new, great. If this can be done with old equipment, just as good. The proper tool to tell the story correctly is the only one that matters to her."
An innovative spirit who embraces improvisation and creativity, Segal's inspirations are fluid. "It changes now and then," she explain. "These days, I'm very much influenced by still photography - street photography to be specific. In the HD world in which I work, I find myself gravitating toward ways to bring texture in and mess things up. It's fun to try new things."
Some of that is her father's influence. He runs a Chicago jazz club at night and the two spent a lot of time together during the day when Segal was younger. "He opened my eyes to challenging social norms - that there's a whole world of artists and people who follow their passions. That even if you're not rich and famous, happiness is the most important thing," she recalls. "Watching the musicians improv and jam are some of my favorite memories because there was happiness there and that made a lot of sense to me. Having the ability to flow and change is all wrapped up in that."
Segal is drawn to "moody" projects with high stakes, "where you're moved to the point of action," she explains. The Columbia College graduate's first union gig as a DP was on FBI. "Twenty-two episodes as the only DP for nine months was a dream come true," she notes. She's also worked on shows like The Crowded Room, MacGyver, and Hunters. Shooting Hunters alongside Will Rexer and (past Local 600 President) John Lindley is one of her proudest accomplishments to date. "I was handed this incredible oppurtunity to work with giants, and I was trusted and respected without question. I realized, 'Oh, right. I know what I'm doing and I made it. Chill!"
A veteran of network television, Segal gets frustrated when the medium isn't given the respect it deserves, especially at the Emmys," she relates. "It feels like cable and streaming have taken over, but the skill and work that crews put into network shows, which have millions of viewers, needs to be acknowledged more. Take Chicago Fire. Having operated on that, I can tell you that all their FX are real. They are doing stuff that no one even attempts any more. Real explosions and stunts without heavy CG. And they do it efficiently and safely every week. That's pretty incredible."