About Visual Lyrics / Ernie Vater - Visual Lyrics - Photgraphy - Ernie Vater


I’m just a guy with a camera , well actually 3 cameras - but who’s counting? I have loved photography my entire life. At 5 years old I loved looking through the view finder of my dad’s Leica. During High School I spent  hours in the dark room  in my Photography classes.  Later I majored in Photography at both Columbia College in Chicago and then Southern Illinois University.  However,  entering  my junior year I made a choice to chase a “real job” instead of art, and changed my major to pursue  a business degree. I still wonder about that choice from time to time. But if life teaches us anything it should be to never look back. So here I am, looking forward - usually through a lens - and loving every minute of my rediscovered obsession with photography.  I love where I am right now,  regardless of  how I got here.


I heard a quote once “Pictures are poems without words”. While I do like poetry, I absolutely love music. So I modified that slightly and came up with “Photographs are songs without words”.  Lyrics capture an emotion. Photographs capture a moment. Both can tell a story, or create a mood. Everyone has a favorite song. I strive to produce a favorite photograph.

On a more literal level, as I process my images I listen to music. And almost always I will hear a song that just sort of works with an image, or a thought I have at the time. I try to incorporate the two as often as possible. The way I see it - there are a lot of talented photographers in this great big world, if you want a pretty picture there is no shortage of them out there. What I try to do is to put a little of myself into each work I publish – each image has a story, and I usually try to tell it with the help of lyrics from a song I was listening to at the time it was created. In doing so I try very hard to create a little bit more  with each image I publish here.


Every image I sell on this site is a limited edition – while the size of the editions may vary they will always be small (Usually 12 to 24) . I truly hope that one day that will make your purchase of them more valuable – but I can’t promise it. That said – if you ever see me on the Late Night show circuit …. You will know things are looking up for both of us! As to what I recommend – Metal prints are my favorite. But I don’t limit your selection in this regard. I also think the larger you print these the better they look – but again that choice is completely up to you.  Also please pay close attention when choosing the size print you want, we both will be happier if you don’t crop the images in any way – the site should let you know if you have picked a size that needs cropping (please try not to do this). Last – I am happy to sign and number any print purchased here – although that will come with extra costs as the print will need to be shipped twice. (Once to me to sign and then onto you) If you wish to avoid double shipping – but still want your print signed I am more than willing to travel to meet you … but that usually costs much more .