The letters ASC can be seen following the names of the world’s best cinematographers in the Main Title credits of feature films and television shows. The letters represent, simply, a commitment to excellence in the art of motion picture photography.

The American Society of Cinematographers is not a labor union or a guild, but an educational, cultural and professional organization. Membership is by invitation to those who are actively engaged as directors of photography and have demonstrated outstanding ability. ASC membership has become one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a professional cinematographer—a mark of prestige and excellence.

The organization began as the Camera Club of New York and the Static Camera Club of America in Hollywood in 1913. After a period of growth complicated by the onset of World War I, membership in the New York club dwindled as East Coast cameramen followed the industry trend westward to Hollywood.

The American Society of Cinematographers was chartered in California on January 9, 1919. Its purpose was the advancement of the art of motion picture photography through artistry and technological progress.

By 1930 there were 130 ASC members, virtually all of Hollywood’s best cameramen. In the past 80 years approximately 425 cinematographers have earned--through a body of superior work--the right to put the letters ASC after their names. There are now 225 active members as well as approximately 125 associate members, whose work puts them in proximity to the cinematographer.

Since 1920, the society has published a fascinating monthly magazine, American Cinematographer, which has become essential reading for anyone interested in the complex marriage of science and art that is modern feature film production. The May 2001 issue features articles on Pearl Harbor, surely one of the most impressive logistical achievements in motion picture history.

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On Hollywood and filmmaking:

Below the Line

sex drugs and divorce

a little life, interrupted
  1. Hecho en Mejico
  2. Entrances
  3. Sam's Song
  4. Hemingway and Fortuna
  5. Hummingbird on the Left
  6. The Long and Drunken Afternoon
  7. Safe in the Lap of the Gods
  8. Quetzal Birds in Love
  9. Angela in Paradise
  10. And the machine ran backwards

a secondhand coffin
how to act
Right. Me and Herman Melville
Scylla and Charybdis Approximately
snowflakes and nylon

I could've kissed Orson Welles
the broken dreams of Orson Welles
the last time I saw Orson Welles
The Other Side of the Wind

Below the Line
completion bond
Film Editing
Film Editor
Final Cut Pro
forced development
HD Video
king of the queens
Kubrick polishes a turd
movies from space
Persistence of Vision
Sven Nykvist
Wilford Brimley

21 Grams
Andrei Rublyov
Apocalypse Now Redux
Ivan's Childhood
The Jazz Singer
The Sacrifice
We Were Soldiers
Wild Strawberries