Emerging Photographer Eric Soderberg
By Connor Shea
For most of us, photography is a simple art. Grab your phone, point it, shoot and share. For serious photographers, however, their camera is as important as a brush to an artist.
“Knowing your camera and being creative with it is a large part of the process," UMD senior Eric Soderberg said. “Finding out new ways to capture the shot is what I try to do."
Graduating next month, Eric wanted to leave his mark on campus. He achieved this by being showcased at UMD’s Emerging Photographers Exhibit. This exhibit was organized in conjunction with the Duluth Art Institute.
“Eric thinks deeply about the work he creates and examines his own responses carefully as he undertakes a photographic project,” School of Fine Arts professor Gloria Brush said. “There always is a sense of honesty and revelation in his work.”
Shooting artistically is one of Eric’s strong suits, and he knows how to get the effect he wants.
“Most imagery (for the exhibit) was shot with long or multiple exposures” Eric said. The reason is that it gives off a ghost-like aesthetic, which makes the shot more haunting and mysterious.”
One of the shots featured in the exhibit is a full portrait, with the long exposure leaving the whole frame enveloped in a red tint. The human subject is framed standing behind a few open doorways. The still also takes place in a clearly abandoned building, with floorboards covering a walkway in front of the subject.
“I look at my whole body of work and I feel like it all goes together in a way that communicates what I see,” Eric said. “This style of continuity and communication creates mood and emotion very well.”
Another instructor who saw Eric’s work stand out is Wanda Pearcy. Also with the School of Fine Arts, Pearcy taught Eric in some upper division photography classes throughout his time at UMD.
“I saw a quiet presence, invoking mystery and a deep searching,” said Pearcy. “The answers to questions are not available to the viewer, for the most part, only the knowledge that a question is being asked.”
Amber White, the curator of the exhibit, discussed some of the criteria used to select the photographers and their work in a written statement.
"While technical chops are important, the students I have selected also had the most fully developed concepts and strongest voices communicated through their work, through various levels of experimentation,” White said.
Eric also sees some great skill in his fellow photographer’s work.
“Keegan Burkhardt got in. He and I share a similar style. Both of us enjoy implementing storytelling in our photography and cinematography.” Eric said. “Sammie Lundberg also added a great concept to the exhibit with her Head in the Clouds project.”
Shooting artistically is a major skill for aspiring photographers, however it only comes with plenty of frustration and perseverance.
“The shots really evolved over the course of the class and the only way to keep moving forward was to keep shooting,” Eric said. “I shot an entire roll of film for class, then not one frame was usable. The camera was sounding like a regular capture, but the shutter malfunctioned repeatedly.”
Eric wanted to share some advice for beginning photographers:
“Inside your first two years, you may find it hard to get the proper courage and motivation going to see worth in your work,” Eric said. “Taking advantage of every good opportunity to show your work is a really, really important thing to do. It could lead to a great experience.”