TF Eric, I am pleased to welcome you here at Thailand Footprint. I have just spent the last 30 minutes looking at a file of your photographs and I came away thoroughly impressed. The hardest part of this interview, I can already tell, will be selecting the 12 photographs I plan to run. I also have many questions for you, so here goes: Tell me about your interest in photography. How it started. How long you have been doing it. Has it been an avocation, a vocation or both?
EN Thank you Kevin, I’m excited to talk with you today.
My interest in photography came from an odd place. As a kid, I was an avid malacologist, i.e. collector and studier of specimen sea shells and the animals in them, buying from dealers all over the world. I wanted to do a slide presentation using the specimens I had in my collection at the time. My dad had a 35mm camera and tripod so I did a simple setup and photographed them. My interest in photography grew and the relationship between photography and shell collecting was a symbiotic one for a time till photography became my main interest. I no longer collect, and haven’t for over 40 years as the ocean needs all it’s animals intact, but I still have an extensive collection.
Photography has been both a vocation and an avocation, but for the last 30 years it’s mainly been a vocation and I’ve worked in many parts of the photo industry from commercial labs to photo journalism to studio, location, and stock photography and lastly owning and operating a custom B&W lab service in Chicago for 21 years, Archival Custom Printing- (ACP).
TF I was particularly struck by your photographs of Thailand and neighboring countries. I’d like to focus on three: Thailand; Myanmar and Cambodia. How are they similar and how are they different? How much time have you spent in Myanmar vs Cambodia?
EN The key, I believe, is to get out each day, and see things with new eyes, like one newly arrived. I don’t believe it is a bad thing at all as it keeps your vision fresh and one’s self interested.
Bangkok and Thailand for that matter is a great shooting destination. Personally, I’m not that interested in shooting well known spots. One should go to the Grand Palace and so on once in their life for sure, but I’ve no inclination to return to well known “family vacation” destinations for my photography. I find that almost any street here will do nicely. There will be someone or something one can shoot. People here are genuinely cooperative if not downright happy when I ask to take their photograph. All one has to do is just go for a walk in your neighborhood and you’ll find fascinating things to shoot. I’ve just moved to a new neighborhood and I’m looking forward to getting out and shooting here as there’s a large Muslim population and diverse groups of people living all around me.
TF How has the digital age impacted your profession, both positively and negatively?
TF What is the best photographing advice you have ever received?
EN Best photographic advice is my own as well, which is to keep shooting. Whatever it is you want to shoot, whether film or digital, just keep at it.
TF If you had not been a professional photographer, can you imagine what other profession, in the arts, you might have liked to try?
EN I’m really at a loss to think of any profession other than photography!
TF Thank-you, Eric for sharing your pictures and thoughts on photography at Thailand Footprint. Continued success to you in the great city of Bangkok, Thailand.
EN My pleasure, Kevin. I enjoyed it.
You can reach Bangkok based photographer Eric Nelson at his email address: Eric Nelson <emanphoto@ameritech[dot]net for information about his photographs and services or at the links below: