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New ASC President Johnson Re-establishes Society’s Aims After Pandemic’s Dark Days

New ASC President Johnson Re-establishes Society’s Aims After Pandemic’s Dark Days

Shelly Johnson has been elected as the 47th President of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). The elections were held in mid-May at the ASC’s Clubhouse in Los Angeles. You’ll know Johnson from his work, including Jurassic Park III, Captain America: The First Avenger, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Last Castle, and The Wolfman.

Johnson succeeded Stephen Lighthill, who stepped down after his second term having served from 2012-13. 15 members of the 2023-24 Board of Governors voted Johnson in. John Bailey, Patrick Cady, Charles Minsky, Eric Steelberg, and Mandy Walker were newly elected governors.

The legendary ASC Clubhouse in LA
The legendary ASC Clubhouse in LA. Image: ASC

A post-pandemic ASC

The ASC was formed during the Pandemic of 1919 but arguably had its most challenging moment during the Pandemic of 2020. The President then was Kees Van Oostrum, who had to deal with trying to make sure that the membership could find work and money to live from day to day. In the early days of the Pandemic, all production had ceased. There was little information on how a movie set could operate, even with social distancing.

Johnson now inherits a Society that can restate its commitment to education, mentorship, and ongoing inclusion, but the lessons from the Pandemic will not be forgotten.

Johnson worked on Captain America: The First Avenger
Johnson worked on Captain America: The First Avenger. Image: Marvel.

Here’s to the next 100 years

It also has to keep embracing new technology, especially Virtual Production, and AI, which both threaten to impact jobs and roles within cinematography.

The new President backed up those aims when he accepted the new role, “The collaborative spirit of the ASC will carry on with a continued focus on industry education, mentorship, and diversity outreach,” said Johnson. “Our membership is embracing new technologies and looking forward to developing the latest tools to facilitate the creation of images that resonate with audiences. Our doors are open as we welcome all artistic and technical minds venturing to expand meaningful storytelling.”

Road to presidency

ASC Logo 2023
The ASC was established in 1919 just as the Spanish flu pandemic spread worldwide. Image: ASC

Johnson graduated from the Art Center College of Design in 1980. He focused on cinematography, inspired partly by the camera crews his father worked with as a director. He went on to work in television and movies, including the 1997 retelling of Stephen King’s The Shining

ASC Award nominations came for his work in the television films Everybody’s Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure (1990) and The Inheritance (1997), as well as the series The Others (2000) and the pilot for Training Day (2017).

Johnson has been a member of the ASC since 2000 and is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Established in 1919, ASC currently has 447 members from around 20 countries. Additionally, there are 274 associate members from various areas of the industry. See the full roster of members here on the ASC site.

Let us know what you think of the ASC’s ambitions for cinematography in the comments section below.

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