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As an undergraduate at Syracuse University, Eric studied color printing and color theory with legendary instructor Tom Richards at the Newhouse School of Journalism and graduated in 1968 with a B.A. in English Literature. In 1969-70 he worked with mentor Pete Turner as his studio manager.
Eric’s prints are in several private collections and museums, and he has won numerous awards including the “Advertising Photographer of the Year” award in 1986 from the American Society of Media Photographers. Showcasing a portfolio of his color images in its October 2008 issue, Rangefinder magazine referred to Eric as one of a “handful of color photographers who are true innovators.”
In 1972 he photographed Haiti for Time magazine, resulting in one of his most famous images, “Coca Kid,” which was included in Life magazine’s special 1997 issue “100 Magnificent Images,” as well as the ASMP archive at the International Center of Photography. His Time cover portrait of opera singer Beverly Sills would later be included in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery. In 1980 he had his first major exhibit in New York at the ”Space” gallery in Carnegie Hall and a print of his image “Promised Land” was chosen for inclusion in the permanent collection of the George Eastman House.
In 1989 he was the only photographer named to Adweek magazine’s national “Creative All-Star Team”; and that same year he received a “Clio” for a series of images he made in Scotland featuring the outerwear clothing of the Timberland company. “Fire Eater,” his image of a woman submerged in a tank of water with spotlit lips, was included in Robert Sobieszek’s 1993 book on advertising The Art of Persuasion. A series of panoramic images made for the Johnnie Walker Company were included in an exhibit of his work in New York in 1995 at The Time is Always Now gallery.
Eric has lectured extensively, including at Syracuse University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Art Center at Pasadena, Parsons, the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, and the George Eastman House.
In 2004, Graphis Editions published his first book Last Places on Earth, a look at disappearing tribes and cultures. An exhibition in England of his photographs of Bruce Springsteen coincided with the publication of his second book Born to Run: The Unseen Photos (Insight Editions, 2006), and was followed in 2008 by INDIA: In Word & Image (Welcome Books, NY). In the spring of 2014 he received the “Power of the Image” George Eastman award. A book of Eric’s photographs of tornadic storms titled FIERCE BEAUTY: Storms of the Great Plains was published in the fall of 2019 by the IMAGES Publishing Group, and Smithsonian magazine named it as one of the “10 Best Travel Books of 2019.”