The Swanson Media Image Collection
Swanson Media maintains a collection of thousands of images
of a variety of subjects, with an emphasis on nature/wildlife and social documentary
(including hundreds of "Americana" images dating back to the 1940s). Most
of the photographs were made by either Mark Swanson (owner of Swanson Media)
or his late father Richard C. ("Dick") Swanson, an award-winning photographer whose
work appeared in numerous publications and juried exhibitions.
In 2016 the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) agreed to acquire the Richard C. "Dick" Swanson Collection for its archives. The collection includes hundreds of original fine art prints, personal papers, slides and negatives from the 1940s–1990s. Swanson Media will continue to display Dick Swanson's images in this website and sell prints and books by Dick Swanson, but will no longer manage licensing of his images after the transfer to the Bentley is complete.
You can search the Swanson Media collection by keywords or browse the images by
subject using the "lightbox" links
Vassar, Michigan 1948–1952
As a young freelance photographer in Vassar,
Michigan, Dick Swanson took hundreds of pictures for local newspapers, businesses,
schools and individuals. Now digitally archived, this collection of vintage
black & white
images captures virtually every aspect of a typical small midwestern U.S.
town shortly after World War II. The
subjects include everything from school cooks to football players; from power
plants to old hotel rooms. Several images document post-war events such as
memorial ceremonies and the immigration of European refugees.
Many of the photographs come from Swanson's coverage of Vassar's centennial
celebration in 1949. Over several days, as residents donned vintage 19th-century
clothing and participated in activities of a bygone era, Swanson
created dozens of striking (and often
humorous) images in which time and place are ambiguous, and whose subjects
appear at once familiar and strange.
The collection, which numbers over 400 images, also includes photographs from other Michigan towns and
cities: Gera, Mayville, Millington, Newberry, Richville and Saginaw.
These lightboxes include the contemporary work of both Dick and Mark Swanson,
as well as many of the vintage images from the Vassar collection. The
lightboxes include over 5,000 different images.
Most of Mark Swanson's images are available for licensing for editorial
or commercial use. To request a license for an image,
please complete the License
Fee Quote Request Form.
For information about licensing images by Dick Swanson, contact the Bentley Historical Library.
Note: the lightboxes contain only a portion of the collection. If you do
not see an image that meets your needs, feel free to request a customized
lightbox by contacting Mark Swanson
On-Demand Photo Prints
All photographs in the collection are available for purchase
as high-quality digital prints suitable for framing. Prints are sold for
display use only (home or office). Prints are made on demand from a commercial photo printing service.
Photo prints make great gifts!
For information about digital print pricing, sizes
and framing tips, see About
Fine Art Prints by Dick Swanson
We have a limited number of Dick Swanson's original black & white prints that he printed in his darkroom in the 1970s–1990s using the traditional gelatin silver process. These prints are noticeably higher in quality than digital prints and have greater value as collectible works of fine art. Many are already matted in archival-quality mats. A few are signed by the photographer. Each print will come with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). For availability and pricing, contact Mark Swanson
Dick Swanson, ca. 1984.
These galleries showcase some of the best work by photographers Mark and Dick Swanson.
Our Publication Credits
Here are selected photo/video publication credits:
- Animal Planet Report (Lucky Duck Productions). Antlion video footage used for cable television program broadcast March 29, 2006.
- Animal Tool Behavior: The Use and Manufacture of Tools by Animals, 2nd Ed. Benjamin Beck, Robert Shumaker and Kristina Walkup. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. Features our photo of a Green Heron bait fishing.
- Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation (via Karo Group), Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada. Blackpoll Warbler photo used for interactive kiosk display, 2006.
- North American Birds, Vol. 65, No. 2, 2011. Journal of the American Birding Association. Features our photo of an American Tree Sparrow.
- AKA Magazine (cover), 1970, American Kitefliers Association, Silver City, N.M.
- American Photographer, October 1986.
- Avery County Journal, August 1984, Newland, N.C.
- Dwellings, exhibition catalog, County College of Morris, Randolph, N.J., 1984.
- The Finished Print, Aetna Institute exhibition catalog, Hartford, Conn., 1985.
- Henley Southeastern Spectrum, exhibition catalog, Winston Square Galleries, Winston-Salem, N.C., 1984.
- The Light Factory, show poster, Charlotte, N.C., 1982.
- Listener Magazine (cover), April 1985, West Palm Beach, Fla.
- Miami News, March 11, 1985.
- Midway Review, "Little Sister Awards" issue, August 1984, Chicago, lll.
- Photo Metro Magazine, June/July 1984, San Francisco, Calif.
- Photo Review, Fall 1985.
- Press, Publicity, Paparazzi, exhibition catalog, North Miami Art Center, Fla., 1985.
- Tropic Magazine, The Miami Herald, March 31, 1985.
- U.S. Biennial II, exhibition catalog, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla., 1984.
- He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln. Donald C Durman. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edwards Brothers, 1951.