A genius, from a time when cinematographers decided what the shots were.
Gilbert Taylor filmed Alfred Hitchcock's "Frenzy" in claustrophobic close-ups. He told Stanley Kubrick to put in battle gear, grab a hand-held, and start filming the battle scenes in "Dr. Strangelove" as if they both were combat photographers. He borrowed a silk stocking from his wife to create the eerily soft look of "The Omen". And he came up with the idea of filming "Star Wars" in bright, clean, hard light with hard shadows.
As for that supposed genius, George Lucas... "[Lucas] avoided all meetings and contact with me from Day 1, so I read the extra-long script many times and made my own decisions as to how I would shoot the picture," Taylor once said.
It is that brilliantly white, crisp, un-Hollywood Eye style that makes "Star Wars" such a standout, visually. (One can't help but notice that Lucas rejected it in all his later films, which is why they look like Hollywood junk.)