16th February 1952 - 28th May 2010
With no formal training, Eryk was working as a photojournalist in communist Poland three months after he first picked up a camera. It was not about a love for the camera and photography as such at that stage, it was more about staying out of the work camps that the unemployed were put into by the government at that time. Up until then Eryk knew only Icehockey, exchanging money on the black market and a bit of modeling. The reality of it was that these were the things that actually helped him to succeed as a photojournalist, knowledge of street life, the ability to take risks and an active and creative mind. It more than made up for lack of technical knowledge and experience with the camera.
A few years later Eryk imigrated to Australia, he worked on building sites during the day and took photographs in restaurants at night. Slowly he infiltrated the world of advertising.
His first advertising shoot in Australia was done in the living room of an old house he'd just bought. The background was a curtain stolen from a demolition site he was working on and he had borrowed 2 lights. When he first got the job he had prepared a quote based on double a building labourers wages, just as he was about to give the advertising agency the bargain of the century something made him stop and explain that he was new to Australia and he wasn't familiar with the rates here so they gave him a budget. Be it's enough to say that it was considerably more than what he was about to quote.
Unused to shooting transparency film and oblivious to the notion of clip testing, the final shots were overexposed. It didn't take him long to convince the art director and client that what he had done was something new, fresh and original. So began Eryk's advertising career spanning over 30 years.
Eryk was always a leader in introducing different approaches to photography.....his unorthodox method of photography made that his photographs stood out... he would say "I had a distinct advantage because of my history in photojournalism, which meant I could anticipate when to take a shot, I always had a gut instinct” In his relentless search for that perfect shot he said: "I developed a lot of bizaar methods of working. Things which experienced photography assistants and sometimes photographers did not understand. I manipulated and experimented with everything I could think of trying airbrushing, using mirrors, projectors and anything possible to manipulate lighting. I developed a very original way of working, using methods which I developed slowly over a long period of time. A lot of people wanted to copy the methods I had developed but wanted fast, instant results: so of course, it didn't work for them".
Eryk enjoyed and possibly thrived on diversity. He believed it kept the senses alert, ideas fresh and the brain stimulated. His greatest influence were life and people. Drawing on experience, being able to relate, understand, empathise, excite, stimulate. His inability to do anything in halves be it work or play - it was always all or nothing for Eryk and maybe that is at the end of the day what counts the most.