Vintage travel photographer David J. Schwartz of Pics On Route 66. Has been documenting and creating photographic art of the "Mother Road" and other historic highways since 2004. David's photographs have been seen in magazines, books, shops, and galleries. His work is available for exhibition, purchase and licensing. David may also be hired for photographic assignments.
About Me, David J. Schwartz
My passion is photographing the America of yesterday. Vintage travel photography is my game. I love big flashy neon signs. I live to meet mom and pops and hear their story, their life struggles, successes and definitely catch a good yarn or two! I long for a drive down old two-lane highways, you know, the kind that follows along with the contour of the land, where the view constantly changes, and each business is as unique as the folks who own it. I am amazed by Art Deco, Streamline Moderne and Googie architecture, the design of earlier days was way more unique . Nothing beats an old classic car, the styling and the lines can't be touched by the automobiles they crank out today. This is why I love Route 66, it’s the perfect package of what America represented in the early — mid-20th Century. I create images of Route 66 to document and promote The Mother Road to others, to encourage dreamers and armchair travelers alike to make the road their destination of choice in their travels.
When I’m in Cleveland, Ohio, my current home, I create portraits and product photography for commercial and editorial clients that use the images for advertising, annual reports, magazines, websites and corporate communications. I really enjoy doing this sort of work; every day is different and I am always meeting new and interesting people.
I also teach photography at Lakeland Community College. I love to help students learn how to get their camera off of automatic, and actually make, not take, photographs.
In addition, I am the organizer of The Little Italy Art Walks and a member of the Little Italy Redevelopment Board. I love giving back to my community and have been working hard to rally the troops and strengthen the neighborhood art walks.
But I long for a simpler life. I am striving towards a future where Route 66 will be my home, where each day is creating art, meeting colorful folk who make the road their destination, and teaching others how to document their travels in a more effective way that brings life into their Route 66 adventure. That is my life goal.
I hope to see you somewhere down the line!
- David Schwartz
A Bit of Gratitude
Photography is my passion and my connection to the world. I can honest say it’s what brought me out of my shell to live and breathe in the world. I feel fortunate to do what I do.
Whether it be creating an engaging portrait of a surgeon in the OR, making energetic lifestyle images with students, capturing the raw intensity of the music scene I love, collaborating with LED Flo artists with a slow camera and a fast strobe, or pointing my camera down a 2,400 mile long highway with a child’s eyes in a world of amazement, I feel blessed to be able to live and expand upon my dream. So I would like to express my gratitude.
To all the folks who have given me opportunities, believed in me, stood in front of my camera, pushed me, kindly smiled, granted me access, encouraged me, danced in front of my lens, talked shop, spent time looking at my images, said a positive word, told me your story, been my friend, pushed me further, purchased my art, fixed me a meal, or photo-bombed my shot (Haha!) –
You all know who you are; in fact, if you are reading this, it’s probably you! If it is not, but you’ve spent your time reading this note, we may have the same philosophy – we should meet!
Hats off to all of you!
Life is a journey, the road is the destination, the people make the difference in the ride!
-David J. Schwartz
Press Release from a recent Show at My Gallery in Little Italy Cleveland.
Back in 2004 David scheduled some time away from a national parks tour to spend a few days traveling Route 66 and see what was left of the old fabled road. Little did he know that he would be hooked by the end of his three day tour. Since that short tour from Gallup NM to Santa Monica CA, David has travelled 66 a total of eleven times, making sure that each year he finds time to return to the old road.
Through his travels, David met people who still did business with a handshake, breathtaking landscapes and larger than life vintage signs; remnants of the emotions of the mid-twentieth century. One of his most memorable shoots happened in 2004 with Robert Delgadillo from the Snow Cap Drive-In. Robert demonstrated The Famous Snow Cap Mustard Bottle Trick, to which David later credited the image, Robert Delgadillo Pulls The Famous Snow Cap Mustard Bottle Trick. He was still shooting film at that point, “[O]ne frame was all I took. I didn’t want to hold up the line and bug him to repeatedly do it,” Schwartz writes in his blog, “[F]or the rest of the trip I prayed that the image turned out”. When he returned home, the image developed perfectly with the only edit being the addition of the color yellow for the mustard bottle and mustard, aka string, Robert shot towards the camera. To this day, this image hangs in the window of The Snow Cap Drive-In.
With every return visit, David discovers new stories and new experiences up and down the original Route 66. In his own words, he hopes his collection “influence[s] others to get off the super slab of endless repetition” of highway and sample the “originality of small town America” and meet the family owned and run businesses along the road.