Evelyn Swett

Artist Biography

Swett was born in Brooklyn, New York, but moved to the Westchester suburbs in 1971, when she
was five. During the past 50 years, she has lived in Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, Kentucky and
Maryland. She has lived with her husband and two children in Hanover, NH since 2003.
Swett’s photography is inspired by the relationship between people and the planet. A lifelong
activist, Swett has spent the past 15 years trying to figure out what it takes for a suburban family of four
to live within the planet’s means. Surrounded by creative people her entire life, Swett has used her
camera to document her family and community.
It was not until the election of 2016, however, that she committed to being a full time fine art
photographer. Compost was her inspiration and has become her muse and the focus of her work. Swett
has traveled to New York City, Hartford, CT, Detroit, MI and throughout the Upper Valley to document
compost. In addition, she collects coffee grounds and other waste from Umpleby’s Cafe & Bakery in
Hanover, NH.
Swett’s Pomegranates, 2015 (one of her original Compost Compositions), has been shown
multiple times and is included in the book Greenovation produced by the Audi Environmental
Foundation in Germany. Her most controversial image, 2 Degrees, depicts her diplomas from Harvard
and the University of Virginia in pieces in her compost pile. A play on the idea of 2 Degrees Celsius and
her 2 Degrees, this particular piece illustrates her call for a ‘reframing’ of narratives.
Swett is an emerging photographer. Her work has been included in juried shows in Vermont and
New Hampshire and her first solo show was at AVA Gallery in Lebanon, NH in 2019. She is an
exhibiting member of the Vermont Center for Photography in Brattleboro, VT.

Artist Statement

My work celebrates community and the transformational powers that surround us. Compost is
my muse and metaphor and is where I go to make sense of the world. Photography enables me to share
the beauty I see in our waste and the possibilities for joy embodied in the apparent mess.
What started as a simple celebration of color evolved into a multi-year exploration of our
compost heap. Pomegranates, apple peels and egg shells are so much more than mere kitchen scraps. For
me, the colors, textures and shapes are simple celebrations of everyday beauty and the power of
community.
My Compost Compositions carry a powerful message about the foods we eat and throw away, as
well as about what it means to live in a healthy, democratic and diverse society. I think compost is like
people and ideas, needing to be turned over once in a while, mixed up and mingled with others. There is
power in the transformation of waste – – it gets me every time.
A percentage of proceeds from the sale of my photographs
goes to organizations that promote a flourishing planet & society.

Artist Contact

Web-site: www.evelynrswett.com
E-mail: evelynrswett@gmail.com

Artist Gallery