Norman Stewart Edson,
Vashon Photographer

Norman Stewart Edson was a renaissance man. He not only studied painting in Paris at a young age, he was a poet, a writer and a Seattle radio personality. We know his distinctive hand tinted photographic images that document Vashon life from his arrival in 1921 to his death in 1968.

 

Edson was born in 1876 in Quebec, Canada to Allan Edson a noted oil painter. In 1905 Edson traveled to Everett, Washington and after a series of odd jobs and served as a photographer’s apprentice under Bert J. Brush. Mr. Edson then opened his own studio on Hewitt Avenue. He had success in photographing Tulalip Indians, logging camps and Northwest scenes until the economic downturn of 1907 sent him back to Glen Sutton, Quebec.

 

Edson did not give up; he perfected his scenic tinted photography and found many eager customers in Montreal. His desire to return to the Northwest was realized in 1911 when he, his bride and young daughter rode the train this time to Tacoma. Edson describes the sunny day in 1921 when he boarded a steamer for a ride to Browns Point. When he landed in Burton by mistake and found a perfect location for his studio with water view next to a church, he knew he had found his home. Burton was Edson's last home. His house is now a vacation rental, and his studio next door is a designated King County Community Landmark, commemorating the life of this gifted man.

 

Top: A photo by Norman Edson

Above: Norman Edson at his studio

Norman Edson photo of the Vashon Island shoreline.
Norman Edson in front of his studio.
Norman Edson
graphic