Dean O'Brien's Blog

Professional Experience: Meeting Eric Weeks author of ‘World Was In The Face Of The Beloved’ in New York

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Whilst in New York last week I managed to meet up with photographer Eric Weeks.  I first came across Eric’s work a couple of months earlier and managed to make contact with him.  As we exchanged emails we agreed to meet up so that we could discuss his work further.

After looking at Eric’s work I could immediately compare it to that of Gregory Crewdson.  When I mentioned this to Eric, he explained that Crewdson was previously his teacher and that he had printed for him many years earlier.  This was where the influence had come from in his work which I could easily identify with.

As we share a beer we discuss the work of Goldin, Carrucci and many others.  The influence that they have had on photography.  In his statement about the book Eric quotes ‘I am enamored of the great Dutch and Italian Renaissance painters, and my work is informed by their strong formalism, attention to light and shadow, and considered color palettes. Some influential painters for me are Caravaggio, Vermeer, Georges de la Tour and Poussin. As far as Twentieth Century painting, I believe that Edward Hopper’s influence is pretty evident. I am also informed by many great photographers. Some of the photographs in this series directly reference earlier photographic works such as Alfred Stieglitz’s portraits of Georgia O’Keefe, Masahisa Fukase’s photographs of his wife Yoko and, of course, Harry Callahan’s photographs of Eleanor. August Sander, Baron Adolph de Mayer, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson inform others’.

In his book ‘World Was In The Face Of The Beloved’ the images all feature his wife Stacy.  She takes on a different role in each image.  Very Cindy Sherman, and it works.  Eric goes on to say ‘I am challenged by the many possibilities of making photographs of my wife over a long period of time. How will they change as we move forward and age together? My photographs of Stacy are in many ways only in their beginning stages, as is our marriage. I am excited by the promise and potential of both our life together and the ensuing photographs we will make’.

This makes me analyse and reflect on my own work.  My partner Rebecca is often the subject of my work and I do want to expand on this further.  However, I need to think  and understand why I am making the images.  What the narrative and reason is behind them.

Although Eric shoots digital as this is what most of his commercial work demands, his own personal work is shot using film.  He talks with real passion about shooting this way.  Its about the whole experience.  The waiting and not knowing exactly what is on that roll of film.  That space of time is special.  A special period of time.  He states ‘I want these photographs to speak about ideas of beauty: the beauty of this woman in these attractive clothes; the beauty of the landscape and the figure relating to that space; the beauty of color relationships; and also about the beauty of analogue photography’.

The quality of the book is something that was very important to Eric.  Hardback with a beautiful matt finish cover.  Paper that has a real quality feel to it.  This is something that played a massive part in the production of the book.  It had to look and feel right.

As someone who intends to produce a book in the future, meeting Eric was an inspiring experience for me and something that I am sure will reflect in my own future publication.

Since getting back to the UK, Eric has been in touch and wants to know where I want to take this from here and how he can be of assistance to me in the future.  At present I am arranging a project in America and look forward to meeting Eric again very soon.  I want to take this opportunity to thank Eric for taking the time to meet me and discuss his work.

Eric’s book ‘World Was In The Face Of The Beloved’ can be purchased HERE

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Written by Dean O'Brien

May 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm

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