When Cynthia Pusheck looks back on her more than 20 years in the male-dominated world of Hollywood camera operators and cinematographers, she knows that she has made sacrifices to get to the top. As the director of photography on ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters,” her career has soared, but her personal life has suffered a bit in the process.
“It’s very hard for women, I think, to manage having careers as d.p.s if you want to have kids,” she reflects. “And there’s very few who have been able to do both. I don’t have kids, and I think I made choices along the way in terms of thinking about being able to do both.”
Not that Pusheck thinks her chosen career is easy for anybody.
“The truth is that it is a difficult industry for everyone, for men, too,” she says. “It’s a hard industry, building a reel and getting chances to shoot. But I’ve noticed that a lot of the women that I used to camera assist with have left the industry because they had kids.
“It’s just a lot easier for a male d.p. to have both. If you go to the ASC Awards, every one of those guys goes up there to receive a lifetime achievement award and they all say, ‘Thank God for my wife, who’s there to raise the kids.’ We females don’t have the luxury of having a wife!”
Obviously Pusheck has been willing to forego having a family for career’s sake.
“You just have to really love what you do, and I do,” she reveals. “Anyone who stays in this industry and moves up, you have to have some passion for what you are doing. Because the work is hard, and the hours are long, and if you are not really loving it, there’s a lot of other ways to make a living. I’ve been happy with my career and am very happy being in the TV world right now, on such a great show.”