Artist Interview: David Swanson

Beyond the Gallery

David Swanson is one of the artists featured in PL130 Gallery's photography show Off Topic, a photo show about the unassigned work of photojournalists who worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News since the 80s. This week we caught up with David to learn more about his work and experience.

David Swanson


How did you first get into photography? And how did you make your way into becoming a photojournalist?

Frustrated painter and figured out that a camera recorded what I saw. Mom and dad saved LIFE magazines and I devoured them.

In what years did you work for the Philadelphia Inquirer or Daily News?


Do you have a favorite story of an encounter with a subject either on an assignment or a personal project? 

Spending an afternoon with Mia Farrow and listening to her talk about the Beatles.

David Swanson


In what ways is photographing on assignment different from personal editorial work? And what are the biggest differences in your approach and considerations between personal editorial projects and assignments?

They are both the same for me. I want show in my pictures where I was, who I was with and what you didn’t see if you were standing next to me.

Is there a specific theme that captivates you, one that you keep returning to?

Isolation, silhouettes small in the frame.

Who on Instagram do you follow that you really admire?

Eric Mencher, Mark Peterson, Eric Thayer

David Swanson


What piece of advice would you give to a young photographer who is interested in photojournalism?

It is a fantastic way to see the world. Take chances. Be curious. Ask the right questions. Listen.

Is there anything else that you would like to add about yourself or work?

I’d like to think I did a good job so far. No regrets. I’m lucky I knew at an early age this was my path.

Visit David's website to see more of his work or follow him on Instagram @photoswanson

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