Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

IN THE LOUPE: Jim Erickson

Jim Erickson with his 3 1/2-year-old son, Luke Jim Erickson with his 3 1/2-year-old son, Luke
© Jim Erickson

Home: San Francisco, Calif.

Studio: Petaluma, Calif.

Gear: To Erickson, photo equipment only gets better with age. Along with an old, well-worn Canon F1, he normally uses standard lenses, preferably made before 1960, that "approximate what the human eye sees." He prefers Fuji Velvia film in a 4x5 format for commercial clients, sometimes downrating it to 32 to make it look like 8x10. "Sometimes I feel like I’m working like an old-time photographer—someone from the ’30s or ’40s," he says.

Recent subjects: "Mother," a book of portraits of mothers and their children, shot in various styles, was released in Sept. 2001 by Dillon Beach Press. Later this year, his second photo book, "Haight Street," depicting San Francisco’s colorful Haight-Ashbury district, is scheduled to be published.

Best advice to photographers: "You can’t simply shoot 35mm or [use a] Hasselblad and have your work look like everybody else’s," he says. "To be successful, you need your own voice and style." He says new photographers should practice fundamentals by concentrating on one subject or technique, whatever it may be. "Spend the time and money on something that you’re drawn to, then take a look at what you’ve done. It will tell you a lot about what’s in your heart."

Credits: Erickson’s freelance work has appeared in Outside, Photo Annual and Newsweek magazines. His awards include citations from Graphis, Communication Arts, Photo District News, the One Show and the Art Directors Club. He was also named Southern Short Course Photographer of the Year and North Carolina Press Photographer of the Year. For his commercial photography, Erickson has received a Kelley Award and has worked with such clients as American Airlines, American Express, AT&T, Audi, Cisco Systems, Harley-Davidson, IBM, Kodak, L.L. Bean, Mercedes-Benz, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Ritz-Carlton, United Airlines and United Parcel Service.

Bob Ecker
Story Author: Bob Ecker

Bob Ecker is a writer/photographer based in Napa, Calif.

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