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Who is Oscar?

Erika Saari Williams considers herself to be one of the lucky ones.  As the heart and soul behind Oscar Elnes Photography, she has found a way to turn her lifelong passion for photography into a fulfilling career, capturing the beauty of life in countries across the world.  It’s a connection between hobby and work that we all dream of.

So how did it all begin?  Actually, Erika comes from a long line of excellent photographers, Oscar Elnes, her maternal grandfather, expressed his own artistic side through photography, becoming fascinated with cameras and images back in the late 1920s.  After emigrating from Norway with his family, Oscar scraped and saved until he had enough money to create a darkroom in the un-insulated attic of his mother’s boarding house.  His interest led him to join the Hibbing (Minnesota) Camera Club, where he met his future wife.  Together Mayme and Oscar traveled the country and the world looking for the perfect shots – him of landscapes and people, her of flowers, gardens, and nature – to enter in national contests such as the New York Times.  Both won numerous awards and commendations for their insightful work.  During World War II, Oscar was even drafted to be an Army photographer.

Decades later, it was no surprise that Oscar’s granddaughter, also fueled by her own father’s love of photography, chose the same path for artistic expressions.  After earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in business, Erika worked in the industry she loved earning the title of senior photographer with studios in Charleston, South Carolina and Montgomery, Alabama.  In these positions, she was nominated for seven awards and was the winner of the Excellence in Portraiture award in May 2009.

When Erika and her husband moved to Italy in 2009, it was the perfect time for Erika to combine her extensive experience in photography with her master’s degree in business, becoming an entrepreneur in the arts.  Thus, Oscar Elnes Photography was born.  Erika now specializes in memories, helping people capture the most intimate and important moments of their lives – weddings, impending parenthood, family portraits, graduations, and more.  And in her spare time?  She travels the world with her camera around her neck, unable to restrain herself from snapping and sharing the beauty of each destination and site she visits.

With such a lovely world out there, Erika believes that one size does not fit all when it comes to backgrounds and settings.  Template studios will only shortchange your family and memories.  Let Oscar Elnes Photography work with you to find the location that will set you and your family in the perfect light.