A ninth-generation Lunenburg native whose ancestry dates to the town’s founding in 1753, Stephen Ernst has always been interested in two distinct things: the beauty and history of his hometown. As much as his passion for history impressed upon him, it was the allure of the rugged coastline and sea that inspired him to study photography. After three years of the Photography program at the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth, Stephen returned to Lunenburg, and almost immediately went to work building his Gallery and Studio, S. A. Ernst Photography.
Inspired by such past photographers as Ansel Adams, Yousuf Karsh and W. R. MacAskill, Stephen’s work is largely of the landscapes and seascapes of his Nova Scotia home. Although he does use digital cameras and editing some of the time, many of his photographs are taken with traditional 35mm and 4x5 large-format film, developed and printed in his darkroom, and many times finished with traditional methods, such as the almost obsolete art of hand-colouring. He is also largely interested in historic forms of photography, and has a vast collection of early photographs and cameras, of which he practices historic methods and techniques, some dating back centuries. Along with this, he also offers reproductions of historic Nova Scotian images from his extensive collection.