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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. Membership is by invitation and is extended only to directors of photography and special effects experts with distinguished credits in the film industry. Not all cinematographers can place the initials ASC after their names. 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.


Its history goes back to the Cinema Camera Club in New York Citymarker founded by Phil Rosen, Frank Kugler, and Lewis W. Physioc and the Static Club in Los Angelesmarker founded by Charles Rosher and Harry H. Harris. Both were created in 1913, and were united into a national organization when Rosher and Rosen moved to Los Angelesmarker in 1918. The ASC was chartered in Californiamarker in January 1919, and claims to be the "oldest continuously operating motion picture society in the world". The following year, the William S. Hart 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 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. In the 1990s the magazine received a make-over, courtesy of the current editor, Stephen Pizzello. The previously restrained, technical journal style of the magazine gave way to the current format, broadening appeal and increasing circulation.

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).

Founding members

Award categories



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

Lifetime Achievement

  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Television Career Achievement Award

See also


External links

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