Most photographers come to the craft from some other career and I am no different. For the majority of my adult life I have been in the security profession. I've done pretty much everything there is to do in security, I started out as a security guard with the USAF's now defunct Strategic Air Command. From there I went on to more interesing tasks like covert surveillance and investigations. Eventually I was designing and installing alarm and access control systems in embassies and military facilities.
Before all that I was an art student. During the mid to late 1960's I Studied Fine Art at the Art Institute of Chicago and have always thought of myself as an artist, or perhaps, a warrior poet.
Without completing my studies at the Art Institute I joined the USAF. Why I quit art school is not something that is easy to answer. There were a few things gnawing at me. Studying at the Art Institute while there was a war going on filled me with ambivalence, and then there was my stepfather, who thought that art school was an absolute waste of time. But perhaps the best answer is that a good artist needs to have very broad life experience in order to be relevant, so I set out to do something about that.
Many students in the 60's wanted to do something to improve the world without bothering to understand the world as it was or how it got that way. I didn't want to be just another ranting voice lost amongst the cries of others around me, if I spoke I wanted it to be with reason, wisdom, and experience, rather than emotion or some vague notion of social contrariety.
There was still a draft so I reasoned that another advantage of joining the miltary voluntarily was that it would allow me more control over my time in service. My intent was not to avoid war, I served in Vietnam, and experienced the Fall of Saigon (which occurred more than a year after the war ended.) Security work often involves lots of watching, and I watched as life, death, and history itself played out before my eyes, washing away my naivete', forcing me to make choices... sometimes very cruel choices.
All of my military training was related to security, combat arms, and police work. To do my job I was introduced to a variety of subjects, tools, and weapons. I had a background in electronics before joining the military and as security ops became more automated and computer dependent my knowledge of electronics became ever more valuable.
While in Vietnam I changed jobs many times, but it was always something to do with security, law enforcement, or combat arms. When Operation Linebacker II began in 1972, late in the Vietnam War, I left my job with the 377th SPS K-9 unit and joined a combat control team assigned to the 7th Air Force HQ Command.
The USAF taught me photography their way, that is, they taught me only what I needed to to do my job, the rest I learned on my own. I was taught photography as a means of recording damage resulting from airstrikes upon enemy targets. I was not a combat photographer and photography was a very small part of my duties, yet it had a lasting and profound effect on me.
After my time in Vietnam eneded I went to my last duty station at RAF Upper Heyford, near Oxford, in the UK. Surprisingly, I had almost entirely forgotten about art. I still dabbled, of course, I even had some of my oil paintings in a few exhibits, but the inspiration that once compelled me was gone. I was a profoundly changed man.
The Air Force paid for my college while I was on active duty, enhancing my skills as a security specialist and investigator, but I sustained some injuries and experienced some traumas that brought my military career to a close. After a lengthy hospitalization I left the USAF and became a civilian. It was now the mid 70's and I was amazed how different things were. I was also exposed to my greatest emotional trauma: Disco
As a private investigator in Chicago I used the camera as a forensic and surveillance tool. I worked for such agencies as E V Allen & Associates, Burns International, etc. After passing my board exams the State of Illinois issued a licence to me in the late 1970's, allowing me to operate my own full service security agency: Erickson Security Services.
In the mid 1980's I began a security consulting, designing, and subcontracting service in Atlanta, GA. I worked mostly alone and no longer provided services as a private investigator.
Around the turn of the century I left the security industry to pursue art and photography full-time and have been at it ever since. I still maintain my security licensing and plan to continue consulting on occasional security projects. Although security is no longer my primary profession, I am still passionate about it and stay up to date on it's trends, challenges, and technologies.
The bottom line? I am an artist and photographer with life experience.
Photography for performing artists requires a unique approach. My techniques and equipment allows for photography on location, while the artist is performing, without being intrusive or disruptive. In studio, wedding photography, event photography, and other services are available.
This website is filled with my digital art and original photographs as well as creative concepts and marvelous musings. It's written by me without the assistance of a web designer. I have no I T department (nor could I afford one.) Everything you see here, every word, every image, has been chosen by me to convey my story and purpose to you.