Ernie Anderson | Aztec For Life

By Hunter O. Hewitt

Aztecs for life

ROLE REVERSAL – San Diego State photographer Ernie Anderson has a picture of him taken for a change

In a life where everything seems to be moving too fast at times, photographs have become a way to capture memorable moments and relive them forever.

Action photos from sporting events are some of the most popular, and these types of pictures are frequently seen on the official website of San Diego State athletics. While everyone enjoys seeing these photos, one thing people rarely see is the man behind the camera.

For San Diego State football, that’s Ernie Anderson.

A graduate of SDSU, Anderson was a member of the track team in the late 1960s. After feeling that his team deserved more coverage in the school newspaper, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

“I started taking photos at the track meets and taking them in to the Daily Aztec,” Anderson said. “They started using them and asked me if I had ever taken photos of football. I hadn’t, but I started with taking photos of Spring practice in 1968 and everything expanded from there.”

Soon after, Anderson became the photo editor for the Daily Aztec. Although he enjoyed his time as a photographer in college, he knew it wasn’t something he wanted to make a career out of.

“I’ve always had a creative side and photography satisfied that need,” Anderson said. “I decided I didn’t want to do it for a living because I wanted to take photos of what was exciting for me and not go on assignments that someone else dictated.”

After graduating from SDSU in 1970, Anderson earned a degree in public administration, and went on to receive his masters in the same field. Following his educational days, Anderson became the City of San Diego General Services Department Director. During this time, he continued to take photos at Aztec sporting events, but it wasn’t until he retired eight years ago that he began devoting more time to his photography.

Today, Anderson works as a volunteer and takes photos of SDSU sports, primarily football and basketball. Over the years, he has taken photos of Aztec legends such as Don Coryell, Brian Sipe, Tony Gwynn, Stephen Strasburg and others. His work has been published in national publications, including Sports Illustrated, but the relationships and memories mean much more to him.

“Aside from the challenge of getting the best photographs I can to preserve these moments in time, the relationships I’ve developed over the years with coaches, athletes and fans have been very satisfying,” Anderson said. “I volunteer my time as a way to give back to the school that has been a very important part of my life. I’m an Aztec for life.”


Ernie Anderson during his college years in 1968 at San Diego State