Eric Joseph graduated from California State University, Northridge in 1985 with a BA degree in Art, Specializing in Photography. His advanced photography and primary mentoring instructor was Jerry McMillan an internationally respected photographer who was part of the ground breaking Photography into Sculpture exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1970. His career at Freestyle Photographic Supplies started in 1986 starting as sales person in the retail store working his way up to his current position as Co-President / Chief Products Education, Sales & Support Officer. As a respected industry insider Eric has established a solid reputation as a technical and creative resource in photographic processes, both darkroom and digital. Most recently Eric has been traveling all over the United States performing a very unique, informative, inspirational and empowering seminar “The World of Inkjet Paper…The Print Matters!” Speaking at Colleges, Universities, Commercial Labs, Photo Clubs and Professional Photographic Organizations this seminar has given photographers the knowledge to make the necessary decisions about their digital output, making their work outstanding and unique.
Scheduled to Teach
LACP Interviews Eric Joseph
LACP asks Eric Joseph ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
Eric Joseph: I would categorize myself as a photographer’s photographer. I am one of those people who other photographers rely on as a resource of information. During my 30 year career in the photographic industry I have been intimately involved in the active growth and evolution of photographic products both related to traditional wet darkroom and digital. My latest photographs are essentially what I call ordinary objects that are presented as extraordinary digital prints which in themselves become art objects. I also love to combine various media in my photographs including traditional, historical process, digital and traditional fine art media. My overall concept is to photograph things that are visually exciting to me and present printed work that is visually and technically challenging. My goals are simple: to continually push the definition of how we describe what a photograph is and spread what I’ve learned throughout the photographic universe.
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
EJ: 35 years.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
EJ: My formal and formative training was studying with Jerry McMillan at California State University, Northridge, where I earned a bachelors degree in Art specializing in photography. Additionally my experience at Freestyle Photographic Supplies, since 1986, has exposed me to an entire universe of photographers from beginning students to masters at the highest level. The last two years I have spent traveling the country on behalf of Freestyle Photographic Supplies, speaking at photo schools, trade shows, events, photo clubs and professional photographic organizations on the topics of digital printmaking, color management and the world of inkjet paper. In that time I have literally been in contact with thousands of people via interactive participation who have contributed to my increased ability to articulate the concepts in my presentations and educational events. This experience has given me a keen sense of what people do not know, effectively making me a much valuable instructor as I can bridge the gap between what people think they know and what they don’t know they don’t know.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
EJ: When I was in college, like many freshman students, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had an interest in photography but like most students was being discouraged from following this as a course of study as being too risky. I was however showing a natural proficiency for the medium and a great joy at creating art. My instructors and fellow classmates provided a very encouraging atmosphere for me to thrive in and encouraged me to continue my studies. Over the next few years I realized that the only thing holding me back from making the choice to devote my life to photography was my own fear of failure. I never wanted to become one of those ‘would-of, should-of, could-of’ people so at that point I focused on myself as a photographer. In 1986 I started working at Freestyle Photographic Supplies and my personal and professional career in the photographic industry was officially started. Over the past 30 years Freestyle afforded me the security of a steady source of income with the added benefit of full access of every part of the photographic industry. I have been truly fortunate in being able to make substantial contributions to the art & business of photography.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
EJ: Absolutely not. For me it was a career in photography or nothing. I have never hesitated or wavered in my commitment to the art & business of photography.
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
EJ: No. The sacrifice would have been not being a photographer.
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
EJ: The pride and satisfaction that I have accomplished what I have always wanted to, overcoming huge obstacles and my own personal fears in the process. Being a photographer has made me a complete individual and part of a fantastic community of others who share my passion.
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
EJ: Beginning and Advanced Digital Printmaking and Color Management.
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
EJ: Being able to share with others my vast accumulated knowledge and unique perspective on photographic processes with the purpose of helping others become the best that they can be. As Jerry McMillan was fond of saying, Be an art comet.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
EJ: Go for it! Overcome your fear of failure.
Get out there! You are not going to get anywhere by yourself.
Show folks what you can do and get involved in the photographic community.
Go to photography shows. Show the community and the galleries you are willing to support them and they in turn will support you.
Join photo clubs and organizations. It is not who you know. It’s who knows you!
Surround yourself with people that can and are willing to help you and discard those who are toxic to you and your future.
Always think about what you can do different. Create a unique artistic signature. Never try to be like someone else. The most successful people and the ones we remember are those people who made a difference in our lives. Not the ones who were just like everyone else.
Make sure that in most everything you do that it contributes in some way to the art of photography.