B. 1980, Cleveland, Ohio
Erika Neola received her BFA in Film, Video and Photographic Arts from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2005. After working as a photographer's assistant, helping to co-found Front Room Gallery, and touring with a double-dutch team, she relocated to Brooklyn, NY in 2008.
Erika established her career in post-production photography at Box Services where she was most recently the Director of the Fine Art Printing Dept. During her nearly 8 years at Box, she printed numerous exhibitions and was involved in the production of fine-art photography books for some of the most influential photographers and artists in the industry. She currently does freelance retouching, production and photographic consultation.
She is also an avid distance runner and teaches indoor cycling at The Monster Cycle in NYC. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her partner, Brenden Beecy, and their cat Toru. She can be found on instagram at @erikaneola and @witchontherun.
I have always been a photographer, even before I owned a camera; I have always searched for that one special moment to remember an interaction, event, or person. I was drawn to photography because of its duality: it has the ability to be an almost accurate depiction of reality, but it is always affected by the point of view of the photographer. Therefore, photographs are not, in the purest sense, truths, rather they are a skewed representation of truth through the eyes of the photographer. This is achieved by the choice in composition or a direct manipulation of the subject matter.
In addition, the subject is reduced by the transmission of the light to the film plane making every photograph a copy of reality. A print becomes a copy of a copy. And so on. The medium itself is a visual xerox. I feel drawn to both aspects of photography (the truth and non-truthiness of it) and strive for my work to express this duality.
Like Robert Frank I am interested in the American landscape and what makes a place if not its people? I enjoy photographing the impact of human beings on their environments, almost exclusively without the actual presence of a human being in the frame. By examining our environments (humans), I like to compare and contrast our new banal surroundings of faceless facades with the more colorful relics from our recent past. I am drawn to items that represent a time when hard work relied on hands and not machines: handpainted signs, clothes lines, old cars, etc.
These relics often tell their own story, of the people and times from whence they came. Does my representation skew the "truth" of a place or situation? What do you bring to the image as a viewer that changes or impacts that "truth"?