Eric has always had a keen interest in the creative arts. Initially drawn to film, Eric completed a short course in directing after he finished university. However the more he studied the greats of cinema, the more Eric found himself intrigued by the iconic shots people associated with them.
“I was always fond of movies and directing, but I became more interested in how a great director created such powerful imagery,” Eric said.
Unsure of whether he could truly make a career out of his creativity, Eric first began working as a ski instructor in Victoria with plans to travel the world. During this time, Eric met several photographers who shared their passion with him, inspiring him to pursue his dream.
“I started analysing what I could do creatively that would fulfil me both personally and professionally, rather than living the standard nine-to-five lifestyle,” Eric said.
“I wanted to do something more exciting and I liked the challenge of creating something from start to finish that could be emotive and inspiring.”
Eric began studying photography in 1988 and became a photographic assistant to an advertising photographer in Melbourne, before freelancing his skills — first as an assistant, then eventually as an advertising photographer himself. From there he took a leap of faith and moved to Europe, where the plethora of opportunities saw his career take off.
Basing himself in Milan, Eric had the chance to work with modelling agencies, advertising agencies and magazines in what was then hailed as the fashion capital of the world, travelling to other countries across Europe depending on the season and opportunities available.
“Milan was the centre of fashion shows, casting and photography, so I was fortunate enough to work with people from all over the world from all kinds of different backgrounds,” Eric said.
“I’ve also been able to work with some very creative people throughout my career, from creative directors and production managers to stylists and make-up artists — it’s definitely been an interesting life.”
After returning to Australia in 1992, Eric and his partner (who is a successful production manager) started Daylight Studios, which went on to become one of Melbourne’s most prominent advertising photography studios. By the time they sold the business in 2005, Eric had a roster of well-known national and international clients he photographed campaigns for, and his studio had hosted and produced shoots for a suite of big-name celebrities.
“We gained a lot of exposure for our high-end production values and experience in constructing sets and client liaison, hosting shoots for the likes of Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and even The Eagles while they visited Australia,” Eric said.
“We once spent a week building a set so a magazine could shoot in the bottom of a fully glass mosaic-tiled pool with Linda. There was never a dull moment.”
In 2001, Eric and his partner moved to the Sunshine Coast to pursue a more relaxed lifestyle, and he has since continued to freelance his skills for national and international clients, commuting interstate for shoots when needed.
“It’s become easier over the last few years, with technology enabling me to work remotely before COVID-19 had even hit,” Eric said.
“The travel restrictions have impacted people in different ways depending on their requirements, but it has also provided opportunities for photographers to shoot to brief for clients interstate, as long as they can interpret the work.”
Having achieved his own success in the industry, Eric set his sights on skilling the next generation of photographers, and now teaches the Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging (CUA50915) in the new, purpose-built photography studio at TAFE Queensland’s Nambour campus.
“I wanted to share my knowledge and inspire people to embrace photography as a career,” Eric said.
“I really enjoy the enthusiasm of people at the start for their journey. It’s been really amazing seeing my students’ progression from the start of the year to now. They've truly embraced everything I’ve taught them and they've seen what's possible when they immerse themselves in the art of photography.”
Eric encourages anyone interested in pursuing a career in photography to follow their passion and develop their skills in order to make the most of the opportunities available.
“With the way technology is evolving, it’s an exciting time to work in photography and the creative arts. With every new platform comes new opportunities,” Eric said.
“It can be scary chasing a dream you're truly passionate about, but creative people who are good at their craft will always be in demand."
“My one piece of advice though, would be to look beyond social media and think about what you can bring to the industry. Look at the masters — at history and iconic works — and find out what truly motivates and inspires you.”