During the day and when he is on call, Penn lung doctor Morris Swartz works hard to address his patients' needs. During his time off, however, his focus is strictly on his photography.
An avid photographer, Swartz's work is currently on display at the Burrison Gallery located at the Inn at Penn at 3611 Walnut St. The display, which will run until Oct. 15, is entitled Earth Tones -- Landscape Photography.
His office also serves as a gallery of his work, which mostly consists of images of landscapes -- such as Yosemite National Park in California and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.
His patients, many of whom see him for breathing problems, find his photographs comforting.
"The beauty is when I look at my images: I remember where ... I was standing, and what I was feeling," he said.
Cookie Willis, a medical assistant in Swartz's office, agreed. "It brings a brightness to the place," she said, adding that the photographs help the patients to better relate to their physician.
Rachel Cunningham, 28, a first-time patient of Swartz, thought the artwork showed that he is both a doctor and a "people person."
Hanging above the reception desk is a photograph of a red flowering hibiscus.
It may not have any medicinal properties, but "it has calming properties," Swartz said, adding that photography is a source of relaxation.
Displayed in an adjoining lobby is an image of a waterfall. This was of particular interest to Cunningham.
"It wasn't just a waterfall," Cunningham said. "You saw a lot in it ... I am not really an art person, but it looks good."
Swartz' ability to combine his vocation and his interests is remarkable: His photographs have adorned the cover of two major medical journals.
This coupling of physician and photographer came over time.
"I guess it started when I was a child," Swartz said, reminiscing about when his father gave him a photography kit that allowed him to develop his own film. This interest remained until graduate school, when academics and family demands forced him to put it on hold.
Twenty years later, in 1994, Swartz rediscovered his passion.
While on a tour of Yosemite National Park given by a park ranger skilled in photography, he was introduced to new methods and technologies to capture landscapes.
His desire to preserve the natural appearance of his landscapes is further evident in his preference of slide film over print film.
Slide film "had much richer colors than print films," Swartz said. "You got back from the developer exactly what you shot."
Swartz has recently switched to a high-resolution digital camera, which allows him to delete images he is not happy with and to immediately determine if he has the right exposure. However, he frowns upon any digital manipulation of the image.
"I want to represent the scene the way I saw it," Swartz said.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.