Jan 21, 2016

Behind The Lens: Eric Oliveira

Eric Oliveira is a Brazilian photographer who has left his hometown ‘Sao Paulo’ to pursue his passion for photography in London. We had a talk with Eric about his photography, Brazil, his inspirations, his motivations and more!

You were born in Brazil, why did you move to London?
I lived in Milan for two years but needed a city that felt just as lively as Sao Paulo, my hometown in Brazil. I like London for what it can offer you on an everyday basis. You can explore and use your creativity in many different ways here as well as meet really interesting people.

eric oliveira behind the lens

It seems like a lot of photographers from overseas move to London. Why do you think it’s such a popular city for creative individuals?
There are loads of opportunities in London and it is a very interesting city. Creativity floats in the air almost everywhere, with art, music, photography, film, plus pub life is great!

How is the photography scene in Brazil?
I haven’t properly worked in Sao Paulo, only doing a few personal projects and helping some friends, but the scene has grown a lot over the years. There are many more magazines and opportunities, especially on the fashion side. I see some friends doing really well over there, Brazilian people are very spontaneous and creative. I am lucky I can see both sides and get inspired by that.

eric oliveira behind the lens

How would you describe your photography in just one word?

You shoot a lot with film, what’s up with that?
I like the aesthetic and the way it challenges me to think before I shoot, the mystery and the surprise when I get the shots developed.

eric oliveira behind the lens

There are also a lot of black and whites in your portfolio, any specific reason?
I always enjoyed black and white photography, especially from the photographers of the past. I really like Richard Alvedon, Diane Airbus, Elliott Erwitt, among others and that’s probably reflected on my work.

You’ve done a lot of portrait shoots. What do you think makes a great portrait?
For me it is trying to capture the split second that a person shows who she/he really is.

eric oliveira behind the lens

Is there any specific brand or person you’d love to work with in the future?
Not really, but I would like to meet Willian Klein and William Eggleston, if they are still alive!

Speaking about the future, are there any other goals on your bucket list?
I would like to work with film in the future, maybe producing some video clips or trying photography directing. I think it would be very interesting to enter this whole new universe.

eric oliveira behind the lens

I’ve seen the ‘Bliss” album on your website and I really enjoyed it. What was the idea behind this project?
It was a way for me to separate fashion portraiture from other things that are visually attractive since I also enjoy clean, peaceful, striking images. I guess it’s more of a fine art project to me.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give photographers who are just starting out?
Trust your instincts, don’t copy anyone, develop your own concepts and ideas.

eric oliveira behind the lens

What do you think of the fact that nowadays more and more people are trying to become a photographer?
It’s probably because it’s easier to buy a camera. With digital you can check as you go along, whereas the photographer back in the day had to know how to develop, print, mount and work the exposure by eye. Nowadays it seems easier, but this doesn’t mean it is less of a great thing from the creative point of view. I don’t really acknowledge iPhone photography though, I think it is a bit lame.

Do you think it’s important to be original when it comes to photography (and life)?
Always, research is very important as well as your ideas, I think the pleasure of seeing your ideas coming to life is priceless.

eric oliveira behind the lens

What motivates you to keep improving yourself as a creative individual?
The passion for what I do. Since I was young, I wanted to walk with my own legs and produce something that would make me feel great about what I do. I guess that pushes me forward everyday, the desire to produce, the money comes as a consequence of that.

What inspires you to come up with new ideas?
I think mainly talking to people, listening to music and walking around the city where I am a lot. I love talking to strangers and hearing their stories.  I also enjoy looking at old families pictures.

eric oliveira behind the lens

eric oliveira behind the lens

If you could go back in time would you do anything different?
I would probably start taking pictures at a younger age.

Is there anyone who inspired you to create what you’re creating right now?
I get inspired everyday by people, music and my feelings.

Written by: Fares Masharawi, Amie Galbraith.

Want to see more of the person behind this lens?
Visit their website: ericoliveira.com