Origin: Toronto, Canada
If you're ever in the mood to reimagine or reminisce the 70s - 90s, just check out Eric Wright's work. Based out of Toronto, he brings the old school to the new school. We had the opportunity to speak to him about his work and plenty more. Check out a snippet on our IGTV / Youtube of the interview or read the full interview below:
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Alright, well, I'm Eric Wright. I'm 28 based in Toronto. I'd say I got into film two and a half years ago. Me being an old school person with my style and influence, I've always seen pictures as just a gateway to nice art and artistic view. I always got into that even at a young age. My dad had a lot of 90s hip hop albums: Big Pun, DMX, Locks. You name it. It's like me at a young age I'd just go through these albums and also go through the album pictures, the credits and just see all the extra pictures. I've always got captured through that. A lot of 90s, Chicago Bulls, Hip Hop, Tupac, Jay-Z. A lot of those guys just influenced me. I always try to incorporate that, especially in my portraits. I always try to influence that type of aspect.
When did you start photography?
I'd say about 25. I literally just jumped into it. I've never owned a digital camera. I took media communications and there was a photography course so I know my basis but I've never owned a digital camera to tell you the truth. I honestly, just me being the old school person, I see film just popping up and blowing up in the recent years and I said you know let's just take it on and just try to get creative and do the best I can.
Would you ever get a digital camera?
Being in this now, I definitely would because now it's like why not learn both digital and film. Coming in, I was just like not a big pixelated type of person. I'm not a tech-savvy digital imaging editing type of guy. My work is literally just development and I just post it. So with digital, I like the aspect. It's so quick and you can just delete it but you can take as many pictures as you want. That's what I don't like. With film, you've got to make sure you have this set and you capture it.
What's your creative process?
When I'm in the street, I literally make sure I have my camera and go ready to feel whatever vibe. I always try to work around the city environments and the vibe. Toronto is culturally diverse. You got a lot of different cultures and you can just go in there and just blend in. You just gotta act natural. Don't really look like you're creeping or whatever, especially with street photography. You do get a lot of negative comments and delete that and stuff but you just have to work around it and just let them know that you're a street photographer. I really work around the conditions and go with the flow. Portrait wise, I'm really getting into portrait but I love portraits as the aspect of seeing different faces.
You said your main inspiration that you get is from the 80s and 90s but what about that era inspires you the most?
I would honestly say it's the golden age like they like to say. I feel like I'm like an old person trapped in this 21st-century body. I really like the music, the 70s, the times, the fashion. It was so inspiring when you look back at pictures and you see the difference from today. It's a huge difference and I would love to live during those times. That's why I always try to recapture that time through film. Best way I could.
Are there any specific artists from that era that you really were obsessed with?
There's a lot of hip hop photographers during that time. Jonathan Mannion, he shot a lot of hip hop artists like Jay-Z. I remember being young I was just saving as much Tupac pictures just because it's Tupac. I love Vivian Maier. She's a perfect example of going out in the streets and capturing the times. I'm just trying to recapture it during this century as best as I could.
Do you think it's tough to capture that essence in today's world?
It is it is. First of all, I love to capture things black and white mainly because the atmosphere is much different. You see a lot of people on their phones in the background. During those times, no one was on their phone. They were really out in the field enjoying life. When you're out here, in the city, New York, Toronto, wherever you're at, everyone's constantly looking at their phones. That's the most common picture you can get. And it's a big difference.
What's next for you? Do you have any exciting news?
So Koolout K, He's based in New York and I always go to New York on Labor Day weekend and he got a few friends that are in that 70s-80s vibe as well and I'm all about working with them and trying to make the next series and make the best out of it.
What are you currently listening to?
Honestly, I'm so such an old school person. Right now, I just finished listening to GZA's "Liquid Swords." That whole album... Bob Marley's "Exodus," that album is great. Recently, I have my boys who're an upcoming artist from Toronto whose names are 100 Wops. He's got a lot of bangers on Soundcloud. I'm so old school, I'm not up to date with today's music. It's good but it's just not my frequency. I recently just went to a Tame Impala concert and that experience was crazy because Tame Impala is like the only recent band that I actually vibe with because their sound is so nice. It's just crazy. They had so many lights. I only had my point and shoot but I can't wait to see those pictures. But, yeah, Tame Impala was crazy.
Photography by Eric Wright.