Local Photographer Displays Work At Little Theatre

Capturing moments in time with a camera is no easy process, and producing photos reminiscent of paintings is a whole other beast in itself.

A local photographer, Daniel Swackhammer, of Jamestown, has several pieces of his work on display in the Lucille Ball Little Theatre lobby. The work will be on display during the run of the production “Proof,” which runs through Sunday. More than a dozen works from Swackhammer’s series “Compass Points” are on display. The series includes images from Chautauqua County and as far away as Rome.

According to Swackhammer, the images are photographs that go beyond the normal snapshot, using a process that he describes as “painterly.” He uses high dynamic range, or HDR, photography to capture details in both the bright and the dark. Many of the pieces on display at Lucille Ball Little Theatre represent Swackhammer’s “painterly” style.

“In most cases when you take a picture your camera can get details in the bright or details in the dark, but not both,” said Swackhammer. “If you’ve got a bright window behind somebody you get a silhouette. (HDR photography) is when you take an overexposed shot and portion of a second later takes a regular exposed shot followed by an underexposed shot. Then you mix the three of them together so you get the details that you would never see otherwise. People sometimes describe the pictures as a painting.”

One piece that represents that style was taken at the Dunkirk Harbor on Lake Erie. Another was taken at the Arcade Attica Railroad, and there are others from places further away such as Paris and Rome.

Another example of a piece from the “Compass Points” series on display at Lucille Ball Little Theatre includes “Bay of Fundy.” Swackhammer and his wife Barb, travel quite a bit, and he took the photo on their trip to New Brunswick.

“It’s an area with the highest tides in the world, like 40-foot tides,” Swackhammer said. “What you have here (in my photo) is the tides coming in. The tide goes up to where the rocks are worn, and it does it every six hours.”

Swackhammer was born in Pittsburgh, and studied at Edinboro University. He moved to Jamestown 33 years ago. He has been capturing the world as a photographer for more 35 years, turning to digital images in the past six years. The images he captures are generally scenic, in an attempt to capture the mood and beauty of the places that he has traveled.

“I started off in film and video, but I found myself capturing scenics more than action,” said Swackhammer. “So, I picked up 35mm photography and have been doing it ever since. I don’t like doing the same thing everyday, and that’s where the travel comes in. That’s also why I practice different styles of photography, because I like trying different things.”

Swackhammer is also the chief photographer for High-D Studios, which specializes in travel and wedding photography. More of his photographs can be viewed at HighDStudios.com.

The photographs at Lucille Ball Little Theatre are available to visitors today and Friday from 12:30-4:30 p.m. For more information call 483-1095.