Edward Schell: An understated visionary in Nature Photography

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On Monday, April 21, 2008, I attended a special presentation by the State of Franklin Chapter of the Sierra Club in Johnson City. The Center for Appalachian Studies of East Tennessee State University is in the final stages of a DVD production of photographs from photographer Edward Schell and music from Johnson City native composer, Kenton Coe.


This is a well-deserved production for my friend Ed Schell, as I feel that he is truly an understated visionary in nature photography. It was refreshing to see his early works; he is now 85-years young and still, as health allows, gets out to photograph in the forest. Ed’s photography is the quintessence of the late Eliot Porter. I feel that in his era of photography, things were pure- cleaner feeling. No implications of dishonesty, as a few have caused in our present day photographic digital age. But I wouldn’t want to go back to film, that’s for sure! The music was refreshing and, for the most part, felt in harmony with the photographs. Other than a few “off cord” refrains, it was beautiful. Ed has only one book- “Tennessee”- to offer his photographs to the public. You can get it at Barnes & Noble (www.bn.com). It’s a wonderful hardcover with text by the late Wilma Dykeman. Ed is the 1990 recipient of the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography.


I will announce the release of Ed’s DVD as soon as it is available.


I posted this photo in the spirit of Ed’s show. His presentation of new spring growth in film was wonderful. As I walked in the spring forest I felt his presence and I too decided to capture spring at its earliest stages. 


EOS 5D, TS-E 90mm w/ EF1.4xL extender and extension tubes. 






2 Replies to “Edward Schell: An understated visionary in Nature Photography”

  1. Actually, Ed has another book called “Potomac: The Nation’s River” with the primary author listed as Frank Graham, Jr. It is way out of print but I remember reading it after checking it out of the library in Richardson, TX in the ’70s. He did all the photographs for the book.

    By the way, I saw Ed today at a doctors office in Johnson City. At first I didn’t recognize him. He was using a walker and had one foot bandaged up. His wife was with him. I wish I had said hi to him but didn’t since I was not sure it was actually him. Then when they called him in they said “Edward Scnell” so I am 99% sure that it was him. We used to hike together in late 70’s when I first came to Johnson City.

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