I'm so fortunate to live by Prospect Park. Here are some signs of spring.
I've been neglecting this blog for far too long, and now that it's Spring, I have no excuses! I've come out of my winter hibernation/seasonal sadness and I can't wait to take on a new season of Beach Lovers 2017 and weddings. Here are a few shots from the last couple of weeks of gorgeous weather at Rockaway and Fort Tilden Beaches.
I'm really happy to announce that I was recently awarded a Nikon Scholarship through the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. I attended SFPW in 2013 and 2015 as a student of the Natural Eye Workshop, and it was a magical, educational week. This year, I will be learning from "Marketing Your Photographs" so that I can grow and improve the reach of my Beach Lovers series.
I will be learning about the importance of juried exhibitions, portfolio reviews, and other industry events, and how publications can advance one's career. I'll be exploring the roles that galleries, art consultants, and online sales venues play in the fine art collecting market. I'm very excited about this opportunity, and the photos I'll be taking in Santa Fe.
The Women's March was many things. Inspiring, uplifting, flawed, imperfect, powerful, determined activism. It was round-the-world resistance. It marked the beginning of the enormous fight we have ahead of us. Here are a few photos I took in NYC that day.
2016 was a difficult year. Taxing personally, devastating nationally and internationally. I'm grateful that photography not only kept me sane, but pushed me to grow as a person and an artist. Art heals civilizations, as Toni Morrison once said, and now more than ever we need photography and art to move us forward. I'm proud to say Camera of the Month Club doubled in size and we put on two group shows; I spent many months documenting more beautiful Beach Lovers moments; and I grew my wedding photography clientele. I had some work and interviews published, and I am growing my network of photography friends and colleagues. Finally, I know I am taking better photos, and learning to refine, edit and hone in on my vision with a more critical eye, with the support of Camera Club. I look to 2017 with trepidation about what the political landscape will bring, but no less determined to make change, socially and artistically. Thank you for all your support this year, and I look forward to making a new year of images in the weeks and months to come.
I started a new series this week, 'Heads Bowed.' It happened accidentally, as most projects do. I spend a lot of time on the subway with my new job. I travel between Crown Heights, Elmhurst, the Upper West Side, and Williamsburg. This also means I often have lots of time between boroughs to kills time. I decided to see how many people I could shoot on their phones, with my phone, without them noticing me. It turns out, everyone. We're all so immersed in our news feeds and photos, we fail to notice what is going on around us. Our heads are bowed, almost as if in prayer, to the social media, text, and email gods.
I realize this isn't that shocking, but maybe it's a tiny bit disturbing.
Hey, I'm not different than anyone else. Stuck on the train? Look at your phone. Alone at the bar? Look at your phone. How many likes did I get? Look at your phone. Waiting in line? Look at your phone. I just finished watching the series Black Mirror, and it left me chilled at the direction of phone submersion we're headed towards. I'm heading to a conference Tuesday, and the headline question is, do you own technology, or does technology own you? It feels pretty fitting.
While I continue to document this modern-day phenomenon, I'm going to try to reduce my dependence on my own a bit. We'll see how that goes.
Camera of the Month Club hosted its third group show two weeks ago, 'A Visual Dialogue,' at The Living Gallery. The show was a wonderful success, and thank you to everyone who came out to support us.
I had thought about canceling the show because of the mood city-wide, after the election, but then I read this: "This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence. No room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal," by Toni Morrison. I'm so glad we didn't cancel, and very grateful for my community of friends and artists, all of whom are committed to fighting oppression and hate.
It was the first show we had whereby two of our members curated the work of the 19 contributors, and it made a significant difference in the quality and flow of our show. Our next show is in April, and we hope you'll join us!
I'm excited to share an interview I did recently with Underexposed, a new online magazine dedicated to women and women-identified photographers. I spoke about my Beach Lovers series, Camera of the Month Club, and being a woman photographer. I don't always think of myself as a 'woman photographer' but I am a woman and a photographer, this does influence my work and how I am perceived. An excerpt below.
3. How does being a female photographer influence your work? Do you encounter any challenges in your practice related to that?
Being a woman influences how I shoot my current series, featured here, Beach Lovers. I love street photography, yet I am aware it crosses boundaries of consent and permission. As a woman who encounters street harassment in NY, I want to be careful not to publish photos of women on the beach that would cause them to feel any discomfort. My series is about moments of love, tenderness and intimacy, and vulnerability. It sometimes stops me in my tracks to see these beautiful moments in the hot sun and salty art. The world is an incredibly dark place, and I love bringing moments of this tenderness to life. I think I am able to slip around with my camera and capture this series much more easily and undetected as a woman.
The challenges I have encountered have been related to sexual harassment on the job, whether on the street or during an event I’m shooting; being ‘man-splained’ to while on a job about photography; and my own struggle to become comfortable to request fair compensation for my work. I think a lot of women are coming to terms with demanding fair, equal pay, and as photography is such a competitive field, there is fear setting a high price will cost us the job."
I love that more women are being recognized in the field of photography and that we are carving our own paths. The field, both in the arts and commercially, is still dominated by white men but women are a rising force. I'm excited what the next generation will bring to photography.
Many thanks to Underexposed for this great opportunity!
Happy Fall! Summer is truly behind us now, the days are getting shorter and the beach lovers have scattered. I've spent less time at the beach the last few weeks, adjusting to a new job, traveling to shoot weddings, and adapting to Fall. I traveled home to Montreal this past weekend for Canadian Thanksgiving, and this short escape was the breath of fresh air I needed. I am working to cultivate appreciation for things that are not beach-related, and a trip to beautiful Montreal definitely got me on the right track. The leaves were brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and gold, and the air was incredibly crisp.
I'll be updating my websites with new photos, an upcoming exhibit, and news soon, but for now, enjoy the beautiful colors of Fall in Canada!
I'm happy to report that I have been shooting a lot of Beach Lovers material this summer. Some steamy, some quirky, some not very good at all. The important thing is that I have been shooting, and shooting often. That was one of the motivations behind working part-time and freelance this summer, so that I could dedicate more time to this series while the weather lends itself to intimate beach moments. Overall, I think the quality and diversity of my Beach Lovers portfolio is growing and I'm really pleased with that. There's now one full month of summer left, so I have plenty more to do.
This is probably one of the only color photos I will take in this series, but I couldn't get over the beautiful full moon coming up over the ocean when I was at the Jersey Shore last week.
Stay tuned for Beach Lovers news coming this Fall!
Hello, and happy Summer! I can't believe it's been two months since I last posted, and I'm happy to say it's because I have been so busy with photography that I haven't had a moment to write.
I am proud to say that I was hired at Artistic Noise as their Summer Artist in Residence/Teaching Artist. I am working directly with court-involved youth to install an interactive installation at The Hunter University East Harlem Gallery, as part of the exhibit, “Visions of Confinement: A Lens on Women in the US Prison System.” We are using photography to explore how women experience prison, documenting the five senses of confinement (sight/sound/taste/smell/touch), and turning a feminist lens on our photography and issue-based workshops.
It is a thrill and an honor to have been chosen for this important position. It is a also an incredible challenge, as the youth have dealt with some incredible hardship and trauma. We talk openly and honestly about their experience with the law, police, and being locked up. Their behavior is erratic and defiant, and teaching the importance of photography to this group is no easy feat. Prison does more damage than rehabilitation, particularly when minors are placed in adult facilities. To learn more about this, the NYTimes and ACLU have updated reports on the state of NYC youth in lock up.
Despite these challenges, they have produced some truly moving photography and brave writing pieces that speak to what they experienced in their own time in confinement. We have three weeks left of our time together, and I look forward to seeing their final product. To see the evolving exhibit, visit The Hunter College East Harlem Gallery on 119th and 3rd Avenue, 12-5PM.
Hello! Thank you for being a faithful reader. I have been a little quiet lately, having taken the time to reflect upon my next steps for my beach lovers series, my career, and my branding. I decided to build a long overdue commercial website, Erica Reade Photography. As one of my intentions is to build my professional portfolio and gain commercial photography employment, it was important to separate out my artistic work from my commercial work. I have featured work I have done in engagement and wedding photography, event documentation, portraiture and travel.
Thank you for sharing this with anyone who is looking for a photographer, and please do not hesitate to contact me with questions!
As the excitement and celebrations of my O-1 approval have died down, I finally have a few minutes to pause and reflect on the solo show, Beach Lovers: Four Seasons, I had just had last week at Rabbit Hole Gallery. It felt like a whirlwind buildup; printing, framing, promoting, largely on my own. With very limited time to set up for the pop-up show, I felt incredibly nervous about being able to pull off the wall collage I was envisioning. But with the incredible help and patience of Kika Espejo at EOArts and my good friend, and illustrator, Lilly Lam, we successfully hung my 21 photos, wall vinyl and welcomed several early-comers in just under 4 hours.
I had an incredible turnout, a mix of friends, family, colleagues and people new to my work, and I made two sales. It was a beautiful way to celebrate my birthday, my O-1 and a new season of Beach Lovers. Thanks to everyone who came out!
After 4.5 months of waiting, US Immigration granted me my O-1 Extraordinary Ability Artist Visa. I am beyond elated and relieved. I submitted my application in November, and went through many stages of waiting; patience, impatience, nervousness, stress, anxiety, panic, acceptance. And I repeated that cycle several times.
Needless to say, I finally feel as though I can get my life started again, and begin writing my next chapter. I'm legally allowed to work again, to travel, to earn more, and most importantly, to become the extraordinary photographer I set out to be. Thank you to everyone who supported by journey, and to my sponsor and art agent EOArts.
On Thursday evening, Camera of the Month Club hosted 'A Spring Thing,' our first pop-up show. We partnered with Ground Floor Gallery for the event, and we worked our magic to put together the show in just one week! We had a great turnout last night, over 70 people were in attendance. Ten CMC members showed their work, an eclectic mix of analog, digital, iPhone and Polaroid work.
To see our photos, please stop by Friday 2-6PM, Saturday 12-6PM, and Sunday 11-5PM. We'd love to see you!
6 days in Sarasota did not produce the warm sun, golden tan, or legions of couples displaying affection for a new Beach Lovers body of work as I would have hoped. I shut out the panic that was setting in, and concentrated on doing what I came to do: shoot photos. Looking past the strip malls that litter the landscape, and taking my camera into frigid winds that cleared the beaches, I found beautiful moments of solitude, splashes of tropical color and older couples who nuzzled closer together to keep warm. Those photos will reveal themselves soon when I get them developed, but for now, please enjoy this vibrant rainbow of Southwest Florida.
With some down time in my life before things get hectic again, I decided to get away for a few days to Florida. My motivation was new Beach Lovers material for my April show. My uncle lives here, so it made for an easy, affordable getaway.
I am halfway into this working vacation, and have been saying a prayer for warmer weather and more sun since I got here. I'm making the most of my cloudy days, by being creative with my cool, rainy surroundings. I'm staying hopeful about making some Florida Beach Lovers photos. Stay tuned.
It's hard to believe that a week ago, NYC was hit with one of the biggest snowstorms ever recorded. It's already a distant memory, as the sun shines bright and most of the snow is now grey, dirty slush puddles.
It was a magical day; the city came to a halt, the streets were silent and those of us who braved the snow, greeted each other with warm, small-town smiles and hellos. Here are a few of those snowflakes.
My plan this past week was to spend some time at the Rockaway Beaches shooting photos, and hang out with my boyfriend. Everything was turned upside down late last Friday night by a hit-and-run driver. The driver sped through a yellow light right into my boyfriend, sending him flying, and breaking his tibia. It's a miracle it wasn't worse.
I woke up to missed calls and panicked messages, and I rushed to Woodhull Hospital in Bushwick. I've been at the hospital every day since, and I have been struck by how bleak and sterile the hallways are, how impatient many of the staff have been, and how cold the hospital feels. I have been to my fair share of hospitals, and this has been the worst experience by far. It is not a hospital that invites warmth or healing, or confidence in all the staff.
So instead of spending hours at the beach, I spent hours in his room, and wandered the hallways and surrounding streets with my camera. Below are some of those images.
I'm grateful he's now home and healing with me, and that we've left these lackluster hallways and unnatural light for good. I'm praying for a speedy recover, and thankful for everyone who has helped or reached out along the way.
I haven't written a post in over two months, and I won't say that I have been "too busy" as so many of us do in NYC. Instead, so much has happened that I didn't know where to start, so I simply stopped writing.
I spent most of the Fall working on a massive application for my O-1 Foreign Artist visa, and it nearly took over my life. I ate, slept and breathed immigration, photography and thinking about my future for almost three months, and taking consistent photos fell to the back burner. The application is submitted, and I am waiting patiently for the good news.
I finally have some time to reflect on 2015, and how proud I am of the year that was. Between my Santa Fe Photo Workshop scholarship, my first solo show "Beach Lovers", and Camera of the Month Club's first group show, I am really proud of the fruits of my photographic labor. 2015 closed on an incredible high note, and I want to thank everyone who supported me along the way. I have already secured another solo show for Spring 2016, Camera of the Month Club is planning its year ahead, and the wheels are turning already. Stay tuned for what's next, and stay creative!