Founders of the American Society of Cinematographers

January 8, 2019
Founders of the American Society of Cinematographers

Who were the 15 original members of the ASC
when it was established in 1919?
Some are among the best-known cinematographers of all time, yet others are not well remembered.

By Robert S. Birchard

The American Society of Cinematographers succeeded two earlier organizations — the Cinema Camera Club, started by Edison camera-persons Philip E. Rosen, Frank Kugler and Lewis W. Physioc in New York in 1913; and the Static Club of America, a Los Angeles–based society first headed by Universal cameraperson Harry H. Harris.

From the beginning, the two clubs had a loose affiliation, and eventually the West Coast organization changed its name to the Cinema Camera Club of California. But, even as the center of film production shifted from New York to Los Angeles — the western cinematographers’ organization was struggling to stay afloat.

Rosen came to Los Angeles in 1918. When he sought affiliation with the Cinema Camera Club of California, president Charles Rosher asked if he would help reorganize the faltering association. Rosen sought to create a national organization, with membership by invitation and with a strong educational component.

The ASC charter, dated January 8, 1919.

The reorganization committee met in the home of William C. Foster on Saturday, December 21, 1918 and drew up a new set of bylaws. The 10-member committee and five invited Cinema Camera Club member visitorswere designated as the board of governors for the new organization.

The next evening, in the home of Fred LeRoy Granville, officers for the American Society of Cinematographers were elected — Philip E. Rosen, president; Charles Rosher, vice president; Homer A. Scott, second vice president; William C. Foster, treasurer; and Victor Milner, secretary.

The Society was chartered by the State of California on January 8, 1919.

So, who were the 15 founders of the ASC?
Click to read the full story on the ASC website