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Ed Swonger

Photography · Hempstead United States

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What is life without fond memories? Some times in life we need an escape to a familiar place, a secret place that remindes of us of our childhood, family, or the best of times. Drift away to that secret place inside the fine art photography world of ED SWONGER. Swongers’s body of work is composed of vivid familiar scenes that are warm, inviting, and somehow—personally familiar. It doesn’t take much to see yourself in one of Swonger’s familiar scenes. Swonger’s art does not require a deep esoteric explanation—just open your eyes and you are there. Swonger grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The hills and valleys and wildlife of the area instilled in him a love of nature. And his wanderlust has always kept him searching for new vistas to experience. The magic of photography has intrigued Swonger since age eleven when he received a small Kodak camera for his birthday. Swonger’s family didn’t have a lot of money back then and the expense of buying film and having it developed was often cost prohibitive. It wasn’t until later in his twenties that a friend gave him an old Graflex twin-lens reflex camera that had belonged to her grandfather. It was the type of camera that you had to hold at belly level in order to see the dull viewing screen at the top. He carried that thing around with him everywhere and although it was a bit cumbersome he began to eagerly anticipate what he could produce with this creative and beautiful means of expression. At one point, Swonger realized the beauty that he was able to capture with his camera, Something that his father once said to him changed his life forever. Swonger’s father was a well-respected trap shooter and hunter back in his day. On Sunday afternoons when Swonger and his brother were young his father would take them to the family’s old farm where there was a pond down the road. They would gather up all the bottles they could find at home and bring them out to the pond. Swonger’s father would throw the bottles into the air or into the pond and the brothers would try to shoot them. One Sunday after they had become pretty decent shooters, his father, who was not long on compliments, said to him “You have a good eye Ed.” Swonger cherished that compliment and still does today, though, he doesn’t shoot with a gun. Although there are many gifted photographers today, Swonger’s appreciation of photography came through his discovery of some of the “old masters” – Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz and his personal favorite, Henri Cartier-Bresson. Swonger’s major influences came from his love of the painters of the impressionist era – Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Seurat, Matisse, Gauguin. “I love the soft, pleasing brush strokes in their work and the luster of the colors they used,” says Swonger. In taking photographs Swonger tries to compose shots that one could get lost in – as though one were looking through a window or into a kaleidoscope. “My hope is that people may appreciate my views of the beauty of nature as well as the beauty that man can create and thus feel fulfilled for a small amount of time in our busy lives” says Swonger.