Edward Joseph Ross II, 72, photographer and professor

October 05, 2006|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,sun reporter

Edward Joseph Ross II, a retired Loyola College professor of photography whose work can be found in permanent museum and university collections worldwide, died of cancer Sunday at War Memorial Hospital in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. He was 72.

Mr. Ross was born in Baltimore, raised on Guilford Avenue and attended Loyola High School.

"He left Loyola and toured the country with a friend before coming back to Baltimore and earning his General Educational Development diploma," said his wife of 48 years, the former Sally Roberts, a retired Stoneleigh Elementary School teacher.

While serving in the Army in the mid-1950s in Germany, Mr. Ross studied photography in Stuttgart, and after returning to Baltimore enrolled at the Johns Hopkins University and earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts in 1961.

In 1962, he earned a master's degree in film aesthetics and production from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars program, and he later studied under noted landscape photographers Ansel Adams and Al Weber.

Mr. Ross was also a member of one of the first classes in digital imaging and advanced digital imaging held at Kodak's Center for Creative Imaging in Camden, Maine.

He joined the English department at Loyola College in 1967 and taught writing. But when fine arts courses in the department increased, he began teaching drama and directing plays.

When the college established a fine arts department in 1988, Mr. Ross joined it and taught photography full time until retiring in 2001.

He had a close friendship with Loyola colleague Charles R. Graham, who taught biology, and they traveled together with students on trips that combined both of their fields of interest - including the Galapagos Islands in 1974.

"On the first trip, Ed taught natural history photography while I taught natural history and Charles Darwin's explorations of the island," Dr. Graham said.

Another tour arranged by the professors required that their students become certified scuba divers.

"We were diving in the Florida Keys and visited the coral reefs while Ed instructed them in underwater photography. We also did the Barrier Reef back in the days before Belize had been discovered and became a tourist destination. The kids had great experiences on these trips," Dr. Graham said.

The two teachers and their wives also enjoyed traveling together.

"Ed always had his camera with him, and we'd be riding along a road or hiking when suddenly he'd stop. He had the keenest eye and had an uncanny ability at seeing what would make a great photo," Dr. Graham said.

Mr. Ross worked in black and white and in color, and was a fan of Nikon cameras.

"He was both an energetic and passionate teacher who was unusually devoted to his students. He arrived on campus early and stayed late," said Janet A. Headley, chairwoman of Loyola's fine arts department.

"What impressed me about Ed was the way he changed. He'd move to another body of work, it could be urban, rural or waterfront, and he would change methods," Dr. Headley said. "One of his photos is of water flowing off a hosta, which makes it look like an M.C. Escher drawing. He always had an emphasis on texture when doing close-ups of trees and rocks."

Mr. Ross traveled widely, visiting 40 countries.

Since the mid-1980s, his work has been shown in more than 20 exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe, and his photographs can be found in permanent collections, including those of the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Albin O. Kuhn Photographic Collection of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the Corcoran Museum in Washington.

His work also is included in the permanent collections of the Brevard Museum of Art in Melbourne, Australia, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Royal Photographic Society in England, and the Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center in Rockland, Maine.

The longtime Wiltondale resident had been president of the neighborhood association and was a volunteer firefighter and officer with the Providence Volunteer Fire Department - completing its firefighter training course at the age of 60, Mrs. Ross said.

He enjoyed sailing on the Chesapeake Bay aboard Pegasus, his Catalina sailboat.

Mr. Ross was a communicant of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Towson.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 3 p.m. Oct. 15 at Loyola College's Alumni Memorial Chapel, 4501 N. Charles St.

Also surviving are a son, Edward J. Ross III of Woodstock, Howard County; and two grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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