At this February’s Days of the Dead Atlanta convention, I met a very talented photographer by the name of Eric Richardson at his booth. This week I had a chance to sit down and talk with Eric about his photography, his tattoos, and being buried alive (yes, you read that right).
Horror Fuel: “I heard you won part of the tattoo contest at Days of the Dead Atlanta, congratulations.”
Eric: “Yeah, I won for my back piece, it’s dedicated to ‘The Twilight Zone’. It’s nice to win one. My artist, Eric Newby, really wants me to enter them. My back piece is worthy.”
Horror Fuel: “It looks amazing. That must have taken a while.”
Eric: “36 hours, 10 sessions, I think. I gave him a bunch of stuff I wanted to be represented, all my favorite episodes. He gave me this picture and I was like, ‘Wow! This is amazing.'”
Horror Fuel: “It is.”
Horror Fuel: “Let’s talk about your artwork. Have you always been into photography?”
Eric: “Not photography, that happened more during the MySpace era. I toted around this little handheld camera and then started adding blood and stuff. People started asking me questions about it so I got a real camera and started doing it more. I think I’ve been doing it for 10 years now. I don’t have any training or anything.”
Horror Fuel: “You have a talent for it, that’s all that really matters.”
Horror Fuel: “What’s the craziest thing that you’ve done to ever get an image?”
Eric Richardson: “A lot of my stuff is planned out, but a lot of my stuff is spur-of-the-moment too. The knife one, the process it took to get the picture, I thought it was crazy because I was throwing knives at my camera. I had it on a little tripod with this little piece of plexiglass in front of it, hoping it wouldn’t break the camera. One knife did break the plexiglass.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s my favorite.”
Eric Richardson: “Up until this show that was my number one seller.”
Horror Fuel: “I came back to your booth, but you weren’t there. There was a woman there.”
Eric Richardson: “That’s Nina Covington, she’s in a lot of my work. She’s my buddy, my partner. We’re starting a business adventure together, which is pretty exciting, but I can’t talk about it yet.”
Horror Fuel: “Oh, I see. Well, I look forward to hearing about it when you can spill the beans.”
Horror Fuel: “If you had to narrow it down, what are your favorite pieces?
Eric Richardson: “I think the picture in the lake, there’s a whole series of them.”
Horror Fuel: “Where do get your inspiration?”
Eric Richardson: “There were many times where I had a dream and woke up and wrote down an idea. Sometimes they’re a derivative of movies. I did a whole series that were a tribute to horror movies. They went over really well, so I’m going to expand that series. The popcorn one called “VHS Kill”, where I’m in the mask was fun. That was the first one the girl from the booth, Nina, and I really did together. That was something we just came up with. We had to do the popcorn scene a whole bunch. We had it on a timer and I told her when the camera makes a noise to throw the popcorn up in the air. We picked up that popcorn for a while [laughter]. We did an alternate version where I was in the chair, we got it in one shot [laughter].
I have a room full of props, like a mini Spirit of Halloween, sometimes I’ll just go through there and find something and try to come up with an idea that will make that prop work.”
Eric Richardson: “I have this nightmare series I’m continuing. I’m hoping to be buried alive this Spring. Then I will probably do drowning.
There is a photo of my daughter in the garage with all these mannequins, that’s what kicked off the nightmare series. She’s not crazy about this stuff.”
Horror Fuel: “I could not be buried alive, I would freak out. I’m claustrophobic.”
Eric Richardson: “I can see in my head how I want to do it. It’s going to be cool. Nina’s all about it. We’re going to shoot it in my backyard. My neighbors all probably think I’m a maniac.”
Horror Fuel: “I can imagine.”
Horror Fuel: “So, where do you want to take your photography from here, besides being buried alive?”
Eric Richardson: “I kind of like where I’m at. I’m not shooting as much, but I’m making art out of it. I made a mixed media piece for the convention that I’ve never done before. It was mostly an art piece but I put a little bit of my photography in it and I sold it. It was my most expensive piece. I like to buy these frames and do stuff to them and put my own twist on it. I like to make things to make people stop and look. I would like to spend more time making art.”
Horror Fuel: “Your work definitely accomplishes that.”
Eric Richardson: “I’m also going to expand the sexy series. I took that to Days of the Dead. It did well.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s awesome. I saw a lot of people looking at those at your booth during Days of the Dead.”
Horror Fuel: “What is your favorite part of doing horror photography?”
Eric Richardson: “Seeing the reactions to it. It’s left up to the viewer to decide what happened here for themselves.”
Horror Fuel: “What started it?”
Eric Richardson: “I dig it. I’ve always liked dark, scary things since I was a kid. I’ve been that way since I first saw ‘Night of the Living Dead’. It’s cool to be able to put yourself out there. Maybe you weren’t the most popular in high school, but when you get older you come to like your weirdness. I dig that I come up with stuff and that people like it.”
Horror Fuel: “How old were you?”
Eric Richardson: “I was twelve or thirteen, maybe. I actually met Barbra (Judith O’Dea) it was the highlight of my life. I talked to her about twenty or thirty minutes. I got to meet the person who started it all.”
Be sure to follow Eric Richardson and his artwork that has a way of pulling you in and holding your gaze no matter how hard you try to look away. The best way to see his new pieces and projects and to learn of which conventions he’ll be attending is to follow him on both Instagram and Facebook. Keep an eye out for his daring live burial coming later this year.