Location: Anchorage, AK
Give us a brief description of you and your work
I’m originally from Turnerville, Alabama, a rural community hidden in the pine forests north of Mobile. After studying English Literature at the University of Alabama, I lived in several places throughout the following decade—Chicago, New York City and Prague, Czech Republic—and in 2005 a short-term job with the Alaska Railroad took me to Anchorage, Alaska. I immediately fell in love with the natural beauty of the Last Frontier and decided to stick around for a while. My new home was a foreign and fascinating landscape to me, and it was my desire to record and express its beauty that gave birth to my serious dedication to photography.
I shoot with a variety of medium- and large-format film cameras. I create most of my work with a Hasselblad 500 C/M and black-and-white film, and I print the vast majority of those images by hand on fiber-based paper in a darkroom. My other go-to tool is a RealitySoSubtle 6×17 pinhole camera, and I tend to use color film in that one.
Three constants in your day
Photography, reflection and laughter
How did you find your style and how would you describe it? Has it changed since you started?
I settled into a particular style after several years of shooting just about everything I could with different cameras and a variety of films. At first I was all over the place with no discernible style, but the more I studied photography and experimented with subjects, cameras and films, the more I began to move in a particular direction.
Most of my work is black and white and in a square format. I shoot mostly landscapes and architecture, and my images tend to be grainy with fairly high contrast. I dabble in color images as well, and these deal with the same subject matter but mostly with a panoramic perspective.
When I was first starting out as a serious photographer, I would often shoot in color, and I almost never shot long exposures. Now, however, I shoot in color a lot less—I use color film almost exclusively for my pinhole work—and a great deal of my work involves long exposures, either because I’m shooting at night or in low-light situations, or because I’m using a neutral-density filter. Another way my style has evolved is that I am no longer concerned so much with literal representations of my subjects as I am with simply creating images that are beautiful and engaging, regardless of how truthfully they present what the human eye would have seen.
Favorite thing you ever photographed?
A lightning storm in Mobile, Alabama last spring. I was shooting the Cochrane-Africatown USA Bridge just before sunset when the storm rolled in overhead. Luckily the lightning didn’t seem to be reaching the ground, so I was able to hang around and shoot for a couple hours. One of the images I created that night, “Fulmination Over Africatown,” has become one of my most popular.
What’s your goal as as artist and where do you draw inspiration?
My inspiration comes to me from the beauty I see in the natural world and in the structures that humans have built in it. My goal is to express that beauty, not through the literal recreation of subjects and scenes, but by presenting it with a slight touch of the fantastical, which I typically achieve through the exaggerations and distortions inherent in long exposures and in pinhole photography, such as vignetting, elongation of subjects, lack of sharp focus and the accumulative effects of motion occurring in a scene as it is captured on film. I also use high-speed black-and-white film and lens filters to achieve certain effects in my images. My goal is to push an image slightly into the realm of unreality, as I find that this is an effective way to convey my fascination with our world and draw others into my vision.
What’s the best costume that you ever wore?
It’s a toss up between the Anton Levay costume I wore for Halloween in Anchorage a few years ago and the pint-of-beer costume I wore last Halloween in New Orleans.
If you had to describe yourself as a flavor, what would it be?
Bourbon and brown sugar
What would you name the autobiography of your life?
“Push the Sky Away” (assuming Nick Cave would allow me to use the title)
If you could pick any two celebrities to be your parents, who would they be?
Charlie Rose and Bjork
First thing you would do if you won the lottery?
I’d buy my mama a house.
Win an Eddie Erdmann Photo Printed on Plywerk
Post a comment about Eddies’s work below and you will automatically be entered to win one of his gorgeous photographs on our 3/4″ bamboo Plywerk. Woo hoo!
We will select a winner at random at the end of the month so make sure you come back to the blog in early November to see if you won and to check out the new featured artist! We’ll ship it anywhere in the US for free.