WMA GEMS: Ellie Seif

March 25, 2020

Continuing our recognition and celebration of people and places in West Mt. Airy. (The narrative on this “GEM” also includes some reminiscences by Yvonne from the good ole days.)

ELLIE SEIF, a retired educator of 28 years (public school teacher and principal), has traveled to photograph many places in the world.

If you go to Ellie’s website at http://www.ellieseifphotography.com , you will find beautiful, unusual, and special photographs from far beyond West Mt. Airy.

Ellie has had many solo exhibits, including one at International House at the University of Pennsylvania, featuring thirty-four images taken in Vietnam.

Other solo exhibits include nature photography shown at Awbury Arboretum and High Point Café. Ellie also has exhibited her Urban Landscape photographs taken throughout the city of Philadelphia.

She is a volunteer photographer for several organizations, including Habitat For Humanity and Weaver’s Way Coop.

As a renowned photographer, Ellie’s generosity makes her a true GEM! Her talent has cultivated a widespread appreciation of her work that she uses to generously contribute to public school education.

She raises funds annually to benefit the Picasso Project, a fund that provides arts grants to teachers in the Philadelphia School System.

Every year, before Christmas, many of us get a call from Ellie to purchase cards for her solo fundraising drive for public education. You see, she creates greeting cards from her vast collection to sell for the Picasso Project.

Every year, without fail, we get the call. Of course, I always purchase the cards, but years ago, I also purchased a framed 18X24” photograph of a scene in Vietnam that looks like a painting hanging on my wall!

In Ellie’s words, her “images capture a specific moment in time, recording nature’s beauty that sometimes eludes us as we go about our everyday lives.

Her photographs of people evolve from her desire to understand and communicate cultural similarities and differences with the hope that these understandings will break down barriers to cooperation and peace.”

I’ve known Ellie since 1972 when we were both young mothers…she a teacher and me the Executive Director of West Mt. Airy Neighbors. With our babies in carriages, we started YES (Youth Employment Services) to give kids summer employment doing chores for neighbors.

Ellie is a “Gem” because of her history in education, her many years always volunteering, and, most importantly, her wonderful gift of photography.

Her love and photographic capture of diversity in people, spaces, and places make Ellie true blue Mt. Airy. Go to her website to see what I mean.

(Note: This “Gem” was based on my personal knowledge, but WMAN wants to hear from YOU. If you wish to nominate a “Gem,” please submit your recommendation to kathryn@wman.net with a narrative to share your justification. The only requirement is that both you and the person recommended must be WMAN members….Yvonne’s Rule!)