The American Society of Cinematographers was founded in Hollywood in 1919 with the dual purpose of advancing the art and science of cinematography and bringing cinematographers together to exchange ideas, discuss techniques and promote the motion picture as an art form — a mission that continues today.
The ASC was the first organization in the film industry to be devoted exclusively to furthering and honoring professional achievement. It is not a labor union or a guild, but an educational, cultural and professional organization. Membership is extended by invitation to those who are actively engaged as directors of photography and have demonstrated outstanding ability.
The 15 original ASC members were Joe August, L.D. Clawson, Arthur Edeson, William C. Foster, Eugene Gaudio, Fred Le Roy Granville, Walter L. Griffin, J.D. Jennings, Roy H. Klaffki, Victor Milner, Robert S. Newhard, Philip E. Rosen, Charles G. Rosher, Homer A. Scott and L. Guy Wilky. (View the current ASC membership roster.)
The first documented appearance of the ASC credential in a film's titles was Sand (1920), produced by and starring William S. Hart and shot by Joe August, ASC.
The ASC began publishing a four-page newsletter called The American Cinematographer in 1920. It was published twice monthly until March 1922, when it became a monthly, and American Cinematographer magazine has been published every month since then.
The ASC also publishes the American Cinematographer Manual, a vital technical resource that is commonly known as “the filmmaker's bible.”
In 1936, after occupying offices at two different locations on Hollywood Boulevard, the ASC moved to 1782 North Orange Drive, which is still its home today. If you'd like to learn more more about the clubhouse click here for a brief history.