McGaw Graphics is pleased to welcome photographer Erik Richards and his sublime landscape photographs, which were introduced in the new Photography 2017 Collection. Richards is a photographer and graphic designer residing in the scenic Hudson Valley of New York State where he has lived since moving from rural western New York State as a child. When viewing Richards’ photographs, one can feel as though they are transported into the landscapes through his thoughtful use of grounding and framing elements. While many photographers rely on filters and digital adjustments, Richards’ photographic works stay true to reality with minimal cropping or digital manipulation. This technique lends the works an authentic true-to-nature feeling, which invites viewers to enter his scenes, relax, and stay a while. We spoke with Erik to learn more about his background and inspiration behind his works (interview below). See the Erik Richards Print Collection:
MG: How did you develop an interest in photography?
ER: I listened to my mother! In high school, I was looking for an elective and she suggested photography. As soon as I watched my first print appear in front of my eyes in the developing tray, I was mesmerized, and hooked! Several classes followed as well as yearbook and other projects. In college, I took several more classes and continued to affirm my love for the medium.
MG: What equipment do you use?
ER: At the moment I have a Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 which is a very flexible camera and goes with me everywhere. I have used 3 different digital Pentax cameras including 2 waterproof ones I have gone snorkeling and caving with.
MG: What inspires you? What artists/photographers inspire you?
ER: One of the biggest, off the top of my head would be Ansel Adams. I think I have enjoyed his images since I was a kid. Spencer Tunick's combination of people and grand landscapes fascinates me. Hatti Iles' amazing paintings of fanciful creatures capture my attention every time I see one. Duane Michals' quirky images are some of my favorite.
MG: What are your hobbies (besides art)?
ER: Cave exploring (caving) has been one of my biggest hobbies up until the white nose syndrome situation closed several popular caves including one of the largest in New York State. I have been mountain biking for about 25 years and road riding for about 20.
MG: What jobs have you done besides being a photographer?
ER: In high school I was a lifeguard at a local hotel and then at a couple campgrounds in the Catskill Mountains. That is where, I believe, I learned to be more assertive than I would have been otherwise. Out of college, I worked in a few local print shops as a graphic designer, moving from one to the next as they closed with the onset of digital printing. Also out of college, I met a frame shop owner who offered me a job running his new large format (36”) printer. He wanted to print and then frame images for the artists in the area. After a year or 2 he closed his shop. I moved with the new owners to their new location and then when they closed a couple of years later, I moved into a local photographer's studio in 2004 where I still have my printing business today.
MG: What is your favorite subject or location to photograph?
ER: Nature and the grand landscapes around me have been my favorite. I have photographed weddings and parties and done portraits, but it's capturing a fleeting moment in time and light that I enjoy most. I have returned to the same waterfalls near Kingston over several years and am still fascinated by them. Everyone should visit the Ashokan reservoir in any condition, at any time of day for a dose of nature's grandeur.
MG: Is there a particular shot that you are especially proud of?
ER: One particular shot would have to be “Morning Reflections.” It was 7am and I happen to glance into the sun through the trees and was immediately struck by the weird glow and the intricate reflections and branch patterns. I had to stop my truck and pull over. I took two shots and then had to get on my way to work.
MG: What is your dream project?
ER: I'm almost afraid to let it out..... I want to travel the world with a big red highback chair and put it in interesting places and have people interact with it. I also see my photography evolving to be classic nudes in the landscape taken in black and white.