L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' FIRST PLACE: WAYNE SWANSON 'METROPOLIS'
METROPOLIS by Wayne Swanson
(Click on image for larger view)

Curator Juliet Haas says, “Of all the incredible images submitted Wayne Swanson’s ‘Metropolis’ most resembles the idea and mood I want to feel when looking at an image IN THE CITY. It is dark and gritty and luscious. I am reminded of a brisk day wearing a down parka, biting wind on my face and freezing fingertips, one moment out of the frenzy of a walking pace that says you’re in a hurry but you have to stop to gaze in awe at the magnitude of the scene. I can almost smell it. A lonely alley full of mystery and dark secrets, the sound of a train racking along its tracks breaking against the horns of automobiles and the din of voices clashing with the air. I want to be there.

Thank you Wayne for sharing this wonderful image and offering up the vision of just such an experience. 

I’d love to know:
When did you first fall in love with the City?"

Wayne Swanson says, "As a kid in the suburbs, my first fond memory of the City, in my case Chicago, was riding the El into the Loop with my grandparents to see Santa and the giant Christmas tree in the soaring atrium of the Marshall Fields department store. The wonder of downtown with its tall buildings and hustle and bustle stayed with me. But I fell in love with the city when I moved into a city neighborhood after graduating from college. That’s when I came to understand that the city is much more than tall buildings. Experiencing the vitality and diversity of the neighborhoods, each with its own identity and character, impressed upon me the rich fabric out of which a city is made."

Haas asks, "What does the City represent to you?"

Swanson says, "The city is a place that has it all. Wealth and poverty. Magnificent skyscrapers and humble homes. High caliber museums and cultural opportunities. Professional sports teams to root for. Racial and ethnic diversity, with all the social, cultural, and culinary variations that go along with it. Walkable neighborhoods and mass transit. And if you’re lucky, and elevated rapid transit system. I still miss Chicago’s El as the best way to experience the diverse wonders of the city."

Haas asks, "How do you integrate mood and environment into your work?”

Swanson says, "Black and white is my favorite tool for setting a tone or emphasizing specific elements. My image Metropolis is a perfect example. I shot it in color on a dreary grey day, and it was such a disappointment to me that I passed over it until several months later. When I finally took a second look and converted it to black and white, it came alive. I love the control black and white gives me to accentuate elements of form and structure and to create an evocative atmosphere."

Additonal Reviews from past L.A./N.Y. Photo Curator jurors:

Fran Forman says, "I agree with Juliet Haas about this image.  It captures the scale of New York, with all its grit, noise, and frenzy. Yet placing the Liberty Tower in the center reminds us of the tragedy of 9/11, accentuated with the black cloud floating above this beacon of hope. Congratulations to the artist. Magnificent work!"

Mara Zaslove says, "Bravo, Wayne!  
This is a captivating image that has mood and perspective.  It draws you in towards the light and also embraces the contrasting darkness of the city below.  Oftentimes when walking through a tunnel of tall buildings, one only experiences the bustling of the people packed on the street and forgets to look up.  Your capture manages to embrace both aspects of "the city" and invites one to explore it further. Kudos.

Wayne Swanson talks about his entry:
"To grow up in Chicago is to grow up with an appreciation of architecture that is missing in much of America. Chicago celebrates its rich heritage, as well as the interplay of old and new. The city taught me the value of artfulness in the built environment. Although I no longer live there, I relish each return. It’s a pleasure to walk the streets of the Loop, look up, and capture the conversations — original Chicago School architects finding common ground with generation after generation of new architects."

Wayne Swanson is a fine art and documentary photographer living in San Diego. He is drawn to imagery related to time, memory, atmosphere, a sense of place, and a subtle sense of humor. Born and raised in Chicago, he is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. His career has included writing and photography for newspapers, magazines, book publishers, and corporate clients. His fine art photography has been included in juried exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Boston, Houston, Fort Collins, and more. He has been featured in publications including California Love: A Visual Mixtape, Shots Magazine, The Hand Magazine, Lenscratch, Rfotofolio, Aint-Bad, and Float. As a writer, he is a contributing editor for PhotoBook Journal.

Career Highlights:

Selected Exhibitions and Awards:

2021 Northern Lights International Juried Exhibition, White Bear Center for the Arts, Award of Merit, 2021

Art in the Plague Year, UCR ARTS: California Museum of Photography, 2021

ND Awards, Honorable Mention, Special: Panoramic category, 2020

2020 International Juried Exhibition, Center for Photographic Art, 2020

Stacey Prince & Wayne Swanson, Photographer’s Eye Gallery, 2020

Project XV: New Perspectives on Photography, Los Angeles Center of Photography, 2020

Rfotofolio Call 2019, Top Selections of jurors Sally Davies and Rfotofolio, 2019


Approximately 12 x 17 in.
Signed on verso
Archival pigment print on archival paper
$400 unframed

Contact: Wayne Swanson