Ed Drew is the first photographer since the 19th century to use the wet plate process to produce tintype photographs of Americans in war. Staff Sergeant Drew deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in April 2013 as a member of a U.S. Air National Guard Combat Rescue Unit. Between missions as an aerial gunner for helicopter search and rescue, Drew made portraits of his comrades under very difficult conditions in the field. Examples of his work may be seen at the exhibition currently at the Adams Gallery. Drew comes to Suffolk as part of the "Mirror of Race" Conference, a discussion of photography and the portrayal of race in American history.
Drew’s photographs show with an intense specificity the diversity of the men and women serving in the U.S. military. The tintype’s laborious production and long exposure time require the subject to focus on the process of having his or her portrait taken. In this way, Drew’s work echoes both the process and the tone of the Civil War tintypes, made as memorials to outlast the lives of the soldiers depicted.
In addition to his time in the Air National Guard, Drew served in the U.S. Air Force from 1999 to 2005. He discovered his passion for art while deployed at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, Japan, citing the inspiration of the artistic aesthetic of the Japanese culture.Drew currently attends San Francisco Art Institute full time, pursuing a BFA in Sculpture with a minor in Photography. View more of his work on his website, www.eddrew.com.