American Society of Cinematographers
The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) is an educational, cultural, and professional organization. It is not a labor union, and it is not a guild
A guild is an association of craftsmen in a particular trade. The earliest types of guild were formed as confraternities of workers. They were organized in a manner something between a trade union, a cartel, and a secret society...

. Membership is by invitation and is extended only to directors of photography
A cinematographer is one photographing with a motion picture camera . The title is generally equivalent to director of photography , used to designate a chief over the camera and lighting crews working on a film, responsible for achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image...

 and special effect
Special effect
The illusions used in the film, television, theatre, or entertainment industries to simulate the imagined events in a story are traditionally called special effects ....

s experts with distinguished credits in the film industry.

Members can put the letters A.S.C. after their names
Post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honour. An individual may use several different sets of...

. ASC membership has become one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a professional cinematographer, a mark of prestige and distinction. The ASC currently has approximately 340 members and continues to grow.


Its history goes back to the Cinema Camera Club in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 founded by Phil Rosen
Phil Rosen
Phil Rosen was an American film director and cinematographer. He directed 142 films between 1915 and 1949....

, Frank Kugler
Frank Kugler
Frank X. Kugler was an American wrestler, weightlifter and tug of war competitor who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics....

, and Lewis W. Physioc and the Static Club in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 founded by Charles Rosher
Charles Rosher
Charles Rosher, A.S.C. was a two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer who worked from the early days of silent films through the 1950s...

 and Harry H. Harris. Both were created in 1911, and were united into a national organization when Rosher and Rosen moved to Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

 in 1901. The ASC was chartered in California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 in January 1911, and claims to be the "oldest continuously operating motion picture society in the world". The following year, the William S. Hart
William S. Hart
William Surrey Hart was an American silent film actor, screenwriter, director and producer. He is remembered for having "imbued all of his characters with honor and integrity."-Biography:...

 film Sand! was released on June 27, bearing to Joe August the first cinematographer credit followed by the letters "ASC".


1920 also marked the beginning of American Cinematographer
American Cinematographer
American Cinematographer is a monthly magazine published by the American Society of Cinematographers.American Cinematographer focuses on the art and craft of cinematography, going behind the scenes on domestic and international productions of all shapes and sizes...

magazine, still in print today. The magazine focuses on the cinematography of current motion picture releases, including interviews with cinematographers and technical information. Back-issues remain in high demand among film makers, seeking to discover how a particular film's look was achieved.

Other than the magazine, the most well-known publication of the ASC is the American Cinematographer Manual. The first edition was published in 1935 by Jackson J. Rose as The American Cinematographer Hand Book and Reference Guide. The Hand Book evolved from the Cinematographic Annual only published twice, in 1930 and 1931. Rose's handbook went through nine editions by the middle of the 1950s, and it was from this book that the modern American Cinematographer Manual originated. The first edition of the new manual was published in 1960, and is now in its ninth edition (2004). It is hard to get into this society and people that shoot video for fun are not allowed, and will never be allowed.

Founding members

  • Phil Rosen
    Phil Rosen
    Phil Rosen was an American film director and cinematographer. He directed 142 films between 1915 and 1949....

  • Homer Scott
    Homer Scott
    Homer Scott was a founding member of the A.S.C. and was their president from 1925-1926.Scott has proven to be one of the more elusive founders of the A.S.. He was apparently born in the state of New York circa 1883, but so far, the details of his birth and a record of his death have not been found....

  • William C. Foster
    William C. Foster
    William C. Foster was a pioneer of cinematography. He was born in Bushnell, Illinois, on December 28, 1880, and went to work for the Chicago-based Selig Polyscope Company in 1901, at a time when Selig was turning out 50' and 100' actualities and trick films. Foster left Selig in May 1911 to join...

  • L.D. Clawson
    L.D. Clawson
    L. Dal Clawson had spent about 17 years behind a movie camera when he helped found the A.S.C., but nothing is known about his earliest years in the business. He was born around 1886 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and his first known feature credits as a cinematographer are for director Lois Weber at...

  • Eugene Gaudio
    Eugene Gaudio
    Eugene Gaudio, brother of future A.S.C. member Tony Gaudio, was born in Italy on December 31, 1886. He learned photography in his father’s portrait studio and developed an interest in movies around 1905. After coming to the United States, he served as lab superintendent for IMP and the Life Photo...

  • Walter L. Griffin
    Walter L. Griffin
    Walter L. Griffin was a founder of the American Society of Cinematographers. Griffin started working in pictures in 1912 and spent a year and a half in the lab before he first cranked a camera for Universal Pictures...

  • Roy H. Klaffki
  • Charles Rosher
    Charles Rosher
    Charles Rosher, A.S.C. was a two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer who worked from the early days of silent films through the 1950s...

  • Victor Milner
    Victor Milner
    Victor Milner, A.S.C. was an American cinematographer. He was nominated for ten cinematography Academy Awards, winning once for 1934's Cleopatra...

  • Joe August
  • Arthur Edeson
    Arthur Edeson
    Arthur Edeson, A.S.C. was a film cinematographer, born in New York City.He was nominated for three Academy Awards in his career in cinema.-Career:...

  • Fred LeRoy Granville
    Fred LeRoy Granville
    Fred LeRoy Granville was born in Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia, in 1896, and educated in New Zealand. The 1 February 1922, issue of American Cinematographer stated that he was “a bloody Britisher by birth” and “first saw the light at Worton Hall, Isleworth, Middlesex, England.” Granville became...

  • J.D. Jennings
  • Robert S. Newhard
  • L. Guy Wilky


  • Best Cinematography in Theatrical Releases


  • Best Cinematography in Movies of the Week, Miniseries, or Pilot Episodes
  • Best Cinematography in Episodic TV Series

See also

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