Long Island Photo Gallery - Photos of Long Island
Long Island Artist - Ed Swonger
Ed SwongerI grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The hills and valleys and wildlife of the area instilled in me a love of nature. And my wanderlust has always kept me searching for new vistas to experience.

I have very fond memories of growing up and having fun with my friends and being supported by my family.

I went to college at Penn State where I got my bachelor’s degree in education. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there – meeting all kinds of people and learning all kinds of new things. I remember when selecting electives I said to my mother “I guess I’ll take music appreciation” since I was in my high school glee club. She replied, “Why not try something different? How about art appreciation instead?” So I took art history, which opened my eyes to the world of art.

Photography -– its magic – has intrigued me since at around age eleven when I received a small Kodak camera for my birthday. My family didn’t have a lot of money back then and the expense of buying film and having it developed was often prohibitive. It wasn’t until later when I was in my twenties that a friend gave me 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. I carried that thing around with me everywhere and although it was a bit cumbersome I began to eagerly anticipate what I could produce with it. It was a beautiful means of expression.

At one point, once I realized the beauty that I was able to capture with my camera, I recalled something my father once said to me. My father was a well-respected trap shooter and hunter back in his day. On Sunday afternoons when my brother and I were young he would take us to his family’s old farm where there was a pond down the road. We would gather up all the bottles we could find at home and bring them out to this pond with us. My father would throw the bottles into the air or into the pond and my brother and I would try to shoot them. One Sunday after we had become pretty decent shooters, my father, who was not long on compliments, said to me “You have a good eye, Ed.” I cherished that compliment and still do. Today, though, I don’t shoot with a gun.

Although there are many gifted photographers out there today, my own appreciation of photography came through my discovery of some of the “old masters” – Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz and my personal favorite, Henri Cartier-Bresson. I would have to say, though, that my major influences came from my 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.

In taking photographs I try 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.

Ed Swonger Long Island Photographer
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