Featured Photographer – Ernie Swanson (2014)


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Ernie Swanson passed away on June 30th. You can find his obituary here.

Ernie was a longtime member of the Arundel Camera Club. He was awarded Master of Color Prints and won the color photographer of the year seven times. 

Thank you for all your contributions to the club. Rest in Peace. 

Ernie was interviewed for the “Lens Line” newsletter in 2014. In his memory we are republishing the interview and some of his photographs.

Our featured photographer this month is Ernie Swanson. Ernie has been a fixture in the club for over a decade serving in multiple capacities. His claim to fame is his awesome color print photography having won the Color Print Photographer of the year more than any other club member on record.

ACC: How long have you been into photography?

ES: I have been in photography fifty-one years, exactly the same period of time that Mary and I have been married. While on our honeymoon in November 1962 my new wife suggested that I needed a hobby to keep me off the streets. Being interested in all things mechanical and also being somewhat artsy (I was a music major in college) photography seemed to fit the bill. What could be more mechanical than a camera with all those dials, levers and things to turn. My Christmas present was an Argus 35 mm camera. By the following November I was shooting weddings with a Speed Graphic and later a Hasselblad. I photographed weddings and did some kidnapping for the next ten years. During that time, I earned several first-place awards in The Maryland Industrial Photographers Assn and a first in the AA Co. fair and had pictures published in the Sun and MD Gazette. I also had a B&W and color darkroom in my house. After ten years I stopped taking pictures, while I pursued my career as an automobile dealer, until 2001 when I joined the AACC.

ACC: What equipment do you shoot with?

ES: I shoot with Canon cameras and lenses. A Canon 1Ds mk lII along with lenses from an 8 to15mm fisheye zoom to a 600mm Telephoto. I am currently using a Fuji Xpro1 to get back to the basics such as street and candid photography to regain some of my love for the art itself. Too much equipment and too much weight.

ACC: What are your favorite subjects?

ES: My favorite subjects are anything mechanical that burns hydrocarbons, goes fast, makes noise and smokes. I also like birds, flowers and sports. I understand that combination spans the environmental spectrum. If I had a choice of professions in photography, I would be a motor sports photographer.

ACC: How long have you been in the Arundel Camera Club?

ES: I joined ACC in 2001 and served as Vice President of contests and served on the Board of Directors.

ACC: What photographers have inspired you?

ES: My favorite photographers include Richard Avedon, Ernst Haas, Jeff Zwart, Diane Arbus, Jesse Axlander and Jerry Uelsmann, a Photoshopper before Photoshop.

ACC: How would you describe yourself?

ES: Maybe a little off the wall. I like crazy eclectic things. Love Jazz and Classical music. I would like to become more interested in Bluegrass. I would also like to reinvent my interest in photography as I have become stale and very seldom shoot unless on vacation or at a special event.

ACC: Noteworthy accomplishments?

ES: As a member of the Arundel Camera Club, I have earned the John R Boykin color award seven times, the Margaret H Bevan mono award two times and the Frederick R Kelley award one time along with the picture of the year. I have also earned the Master Certificate in color and the Gold Certificate in monochrome. I was selected to participate in a three person exhibit at the Anne Arundel Community College. I market a series of inspirational cards and prints through Hospice of the Chesapeake and other nonprofit organizations.