EWW: Erez, what photographer, past or present, has been an inspiration to you and your work and why?
Erez: As a photographer who likes to maintain a high degree of fidelity to reality, I’d have to say my inspiration comes from photographers who have the same approach, such as Ian Plant and Marsel Van Oosten. These artists have a very high standard when it comes to composition and light, but also when it comes to staying true to reality. Nature is too amazing to be edited.
EWW: Excluding subject matter, what are the themes, in terms of style, that consistently run from one work to the other such as colors, perspective, lighting, movement, style, etc.?
Erez: In terms of colors, one can easily see that I love those of snow and ice, especially when lit by low Arctic light. I also like the harsh colors of volcanic rock and deserts. You won’t see too much green in my images, apart from Aurora shots.
I like soft light such as in sunrise and sunset, and I try to shoot as many nightscapes as I can manage. In any case, the largest emphasis in my work is always composition, which is, in my opinion, by far the most important aspect in photography. Even if you have mediocre light, a good composition will usually result in a good image.
EWW: Your work is about Landscapes. Do you have one series of shots that you were inspired by the most and why?
Erez: I’d say my aerial series from the Holuhraun volcanic eruption in Iceland that I took in September 2014. Shooting the eruption has been extraordinarily amazing, even by Icelandic standards, and witnessing this natural phenomenon in all its might is hardly describable in words, especially when shooting it from the air by helicopter.
It took quite a bit of effort even getting to the eruption site. I had to use my contacts in National Geographic to get a letter of intent, in order to get the permit to go inside the restricted zone. I also struggled to find an Icelander to go with me as was required, since all my Icelandic friends were in Greenland at the time of my arrival. Of course, my suitcase was also lost and I had to repurchase clothing and shoes. Finally, sand storms prevented us from flying for 3 days, and only then could we use the helicopter and get aerials of the eruption. It was all worth it, though, as the resulting series won me a 1st place on the aerial professional category in the 2015 ND awards, in addition to multiple articles and a postcard deal in Iceland. The memory of seeing the eruption will never leave me.
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EWW: After looking at your website, I understand that you do workshops. What are the three most important concepts about photography, that you want your student to leave the workshop with?
Erez: I’m very lucky to be able to make my living helping aspiring photographers improve their skills while traveling in all these beautiful places. The most important concepts about natural landscape photography are:
- A sense of balanced composition (as I’ve already mentioned, composition is the critical aspect to an image). I try to “saturate” the frame with compositional elements in such a way that the different components of the image and their respective “masses” balance each other out while leading the viewer’s eye to the image’s subject.
- Patience and persistence. After all, you’re shooting in nature, and weather conditions can’t be controlled. You need to spend long periods of time on location to get the best possible results, and that’s exactly what I do on my trips.
- Knowing that there isn’t any magic to photography. There’s just the photographer, nature, and the camera as a tool of transforming the beauty of our nature’s reality to a piece of art. If you want a certain result, put some work into it, visualize it, feel it, use your knowledge and that of your guides to execute this transformation, to make your vision a reality. That’s the whole story of art.
EWW: What do you see, or have experienced, as the most effective way for you to market and promote you and your work?
Erez: I put a lot of emphasis on writing about photography, be it the technical aspects of a shot, my travel experiences or the philosophy and thought behind my art. I think people who read what I write and can connect to it are much more likely to join my trips, since this way they can see I know what I’m talking about (and I’m not a charlatan or anything like that), and they can also relate to my personal style and way of seeing things, which in turn will make them make the most out of my guidance and our shared travels.
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EWW: From what I can gather, you do use social media platforms. Which social media platform do you find to be the most successful for you?
Erez: I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I use it to my benefit, but at the same time, I hate playing the quid pro quo game. That said, Facebook and Instagram have brought me plenty of exposure. It’s also an amazing way to communicate with your followers.
EWW: Just to wrap up this interview. Do you have any final thoughts about you and your work, which you think would be important for others to know about?
Erez: I think what characterizes me is that I do my own thing. I don’t have to know everyone and all that’s going on in the photography world. I’m reluctant to be influenced by trends or fashions, which can be both good and bad (I can miss out on new techniques etc.) but I do photography as a labor of love, a way to access my own private world and make something beautiful and equally importantly, special. So be it.