Meet the 101-year-old photographer who is still making art

Posted: Updated:
HOPE TOWNSHIP -

New Jersey is home to many interesting people – but one of its most interesting could be a 101-year-old digital photographer from Warren County.

News 12 New Jersey's Brian Donohue went to Endel Uiga's Hope Township home – mainly to see his collection of abstract digital photography that he made himself. Uiga has been a photographer in one form or another for 95 years.

"Everyone sees a different thing depending on what kind of mind, what kind of person one is," he says.

Uiga was born just after World War I in the European country of Estonia. One of his oldest photos is from when he was 8 years old. The photo depicts him with his aunt and uncles and he is seen holding a string connected to the camera shutter. It is an old-fashioned selfie.

It is the only photograph that he has from those days. He says he had to leave the others behind when the Russian army took over Estonia in 1940. Uiga was a college student at the time.

"We didn't realize this type of high-degree of terror exists in the world. We were practically slaves," he says.

Uiga fled to Germany and then later came to the United States as a refugee. He worked as an electrical engineer at Ballantine Laboratories in Rockaway and then a professor at the County College of Morris. He retired in 1988.

He says that these days he worries about resurgent Russian imperialism and America turning its back on refugees like him.

"You wouldn't believe how cruel," he says.

But he says that he mostly smiles and laughs and shows off his home filled with his photographs, blacksmithing projects and tapestries woven by his late wife.

He says that he became interested in digital photography in the 1970s, using editing software to turn his photos into abstract works of art he calls "mindscapes."

One such photo depicts a close up of a snow bank. It looks like a bird flying away. He calls it "Escape" and says that it reminds him of his own escape from Soviet occupation. Donohue says that he bought the photo for $40 as a way to remember his visit with such a unique New Jersey resident.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
  • Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
  • Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."