Photographer and cinematographer

Born: August 29. 1912;

Died: October 7, 2016

WOLFGANG Suschitzky, who has died aged 104, was a distinguished photographer and cinematographer most famous for the Michael Caine crime thriller Get Carter. As a photographer, he specialised in children and animals but his most celebrated work was a series of pictures he took of London in the 1930s.

He frequently worked in Scotland - so much so that he was once given the nickname McSuschitzky. His 1944 film Children of the City looked at poverty and delinquency in Dundee. He also made documentary films for the coal board and shot Ring of Bright Water, the movie based on Gavin Maxwell's life with otters on the West Coast. In 2002, his photography was also the subject of a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

In his professional life, he was one of the mainstays of the pre- and post-war British film industry, but he was Viennese by birth and upbringing. His parents Wilhelm and Adele were Jews who owned a radical bookshop in Vienna, but the fact that it stocked titles on sexual education and women's rights incurred the wrath of the authorities and the situation only worsened with the rise of fascism in the 1930s.

In an interview with The Herald, Suschitzky spoke of the tension his parents were under at the time. "We had a kind of civil war in Austria in 1934,'' he said. ''The army shot into working-class flats with artillery. My father's position became very difficult, not only as a socialist, but as a Jew. The shop didn't pay its way any more, and he committed suicide. He had been suffering from depression.''

Suschitzky himself left Vienna in 1934 for Amsterdam where he met and married Helena Voute, with whom he opened a photography studio. When she left him, he came to England and began to develop his work as a photographer, encouraged by his sister and fellow photographer Edith Tudor Hart.

His best-known photographs remain those he took of passers-by on Charing Cross Road in London soon after he arrived in the city, but his great passion was photographing animals.

He then started to work as a cinematographer, firstly in the British documentary movement of the 1930s, before moving into feature films and television in the 1950s.

In all he worked on more than 100 films and television programmes in all genres. The Get Carter job came about when the director Mike Hodges saw the Anthony Newley film The Small World of Sammy Lee, which Suschitzky photographed, and realised it had the gritty realism that he wanted.

Suschitzky's other film work included 1969's Ring of Bright Water, which was filmed in Argyll, Entertaining Mr Sloane in 1970, and Theatre of Blood with Vincent Price in 1973. In the 1980s, he was also cinematographer on ITV's adaptation of the Worzel Gummidge books starring Jon Pertwee.

Throughout his television and film career, Suschitzky was always taking still pictures as well, often on the same sets and locations. His political beliefs also led to him charting the rise of CND in the 1950s.

''I've been a socialist all my life and I'm not ashamed of it,'' he said in 2002. ''I was against the nuclear bomb and I was against wars like the Gulf War and I'm still against the war in Afghanistan.''

He also admitted to being enthralled by the Soviet experiment. ''Unfortunately politicians get hold of something and then convert it into something to their advantage. When the Russian Revolution happened we thought it was a wonderful thing and we thought it would change the whole world and we were very enthusiastic in supporting them, but the very good idea of socialism was somehow converted into dictatorship. It took a long time until we realised it.''

After finishing his career in television, Suschitzky officially retired at the age of 80, although he continued to take pictures and sell prints of his old negatives. His reputation underwent something of a resurgence in the 90s and his work was widely exhibited.

Duncan Forbes, the curator of An Exile's Eye, the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, said Suschitzky should be considered one of the great classic documentary photographers.

"He was the first photographer in Britain to bring a new informality to animal photography,'' said Forbes, ''and he introduced a much more informal way of seeing children which broke with the format of the rather staid Victorian portrait.''

Suschitzky was more than happy to have lived for most of his life in London, although he said he never felt British no matter how long he remained here. "One is never an Englishman, even if you've lived here for 65 years," he told The Herald. "Unless you go to school here, you don't feel English.

In 2013, he returned to Scotland when his sister Edith Tudor Hart was also the subject of an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Tudor Hart had gone to become one of the most important female photographers to have worked in the UK; she she died in 1973.

Suschitzky was self-effacing about his own abilities and always saw himself as a craftsman rather than an artist. "I'm quite content to be a craftsman," he said. "I observe things and if I think it would make a good picture I take a picture, rather than arrange things."

Suschitzky was married three times and for the last part of his life lived with his partner Heather Anthony, who had been married to his best friend Zoltan Wegner, who was also a photographer. "He died a few weeks before my third wife died," he said. "So we were both alone and we thought we should be alone together."

He is survived by Ms Anthony, as well as his three children, his nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.