ASC Welcomes Polly Morgan as New Member

After a film crew descended upon her family’s farmhouse, she realized at the age of 13 that she wanted to become a cinematographer.

Samantha Dillard

After a film crew descended upon her family’s farmhouse, she realized at the age of 13 that she wanted to become a cinematographer.
Polly Morgan, ASC, BSC

Polly Morgan, ASC, BSC was raised in the British countryside, and it was there — after a film crew descended upon her family’s farmhouse — that a 13-year-old Morgan realized she wanted to become a cinematographer. She studied art history and photography as a teenager and completed a degree in broadcasting — co-run by the BBC — that was one of the only programs in the United Kingdom that enabled students to receive practical training on single-camera production. 

Morgan’s first industry job was as an in-house production assistant for RSA Films in London, and this position allowed her to make connections and eventually become a camera assistant. During this time, she worked with a number of influential cinematographers, including ASC members Wally Pfister, Seamus McGarvey and Dan Mindel.

Morgan later attended the Maine Media Workshops, where she was taught by former ASC president Michael Goi, and then moved to Los Angeles as a Fulbright Scholar at the American Film Institute. In 2012, Morgan was recognized by the Rising Stars department of Friends of the ASC. In an article about this accolade, Goi wrote about his experience working with Morgan on set: “Her focus on the details that mattered during chaotic filming schedules was befitting a cinematographer with many more years of experience. The joy that Polly has in exploring visual styles for a project is evident in the careful way she approaches setting up every shot. There is a logic and rhythm to the flow of images, and it incites anticipation in the viewer for where the story will take you next.”

Shooting the superhero series Legion, Morgan (center) discusses a scene with episode director Ellen Kuras, ASC (left). (Photo courtesy of FX)

Following her graduation from AFI, Morgan shot a feature, The Truth About Emanuel, that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and she has since had films premiere at South by Southwest and the Tribeca Film Festival. Her recent credits include the features 6 Balloons and Spinning Man and the television series Legion and Strange Angel.

Morgan was profiled in the July 2018 issue of American Cinematographer for her work in the FX superhero series Legion.

Complete details on the 15 founding members of the ASC can be found here.

A complete list of all active ASC members — since 1919 — can be downloaded here.

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