Ed Drew grew up in Brooklyn, New York City and joined the military after completion of high school. Drew spent the next 6 years in the active duty Air Force; during his tour of duty he was assigned to an air base near Tokyo, Japan until the end of his enlistment. It was while in Japan he discovered his passion for art and the distinctive aesthetic derived from the Japanese culture.
In 2009 he joined the California Air National Guard as a Combat Search and Rescue helicopter gunner. Deploying to Afghanistan in the spring of 2013, he created his first major body of work there. While in the Air National Guard, he also attended San Francisco Art Institute, receiving a BFA in Sculpture with a minor in Photography where he studied under photographers Linda Connor, Lonnie Graham and Henry Wessel Jr.
His work centers on historical references of varying cultures, through portraiture, with an emphasis on a wide range of photographic processes, and compositional dialogue.
Ed is currently working on a year-long commission from the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, a Department of Arkansas Heritage museum in Central Arkansas, where he now resides.
The camera is used to assert my understanding of this world. To that end I consider myself an artist, and a storyteller that uses a camera.
Much of my artistic oeuvre is differentiated through observation of culture, usually by way of photographic portraits. I choose my subjects based on their status in society. My work also focuses on groups who historically share a common connection or bond, .
I specialize in use of some of the oldest photographic processes such as wetplate collodion (tintype) and the contact print processes. I also use film in 35mm and larger 4x5 negative, formats. My choice of cameras range from field view "accordion style" cameras, to small Japanese SLRs from the 1970's.
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