Eryca Green is a Melbourne based photographer and co-owner at Opmanis & Green, a mid 20th century vintage Australian and international design collective, which she runs with her husband Eddy Opmanis.
Eryca lived in a small country town in rural New South Wales, Australia for many years before residing in Melbourne. Her relationship with the countryside was her main work of influence during this period, which also consisted of self-portraits. Her photographic work hangs in major private and public collections, and has been used for editorial, album design, and advertising.
These days Eryca’s endearing existence is spent between her photographic studio and her mid 20th century vintage emporium. We converse with Eryca about her start in photography and her past and present artistic pursuits.
How did you get started in photography? I started in high school. It was all film and darkroom work – I just loved it.
What was the first camera that you bought? A Pentax Spotmatic with a 50mm lens. I still use it, although it has no light meter.
What in your opinion are the pros/cons of the transition from film to digital? I struggled to go from film to digital – I was afraid it would lose its soul. To some extent it did, but the instant gratification and the cheapness of digital is hard to beat in a commercial setting. The thing I miss are the mistakes. The mistakes on hard copy that couldn’t just be erased. Sometimes they were the winning elements of a shot.
Do you feel that photography in commercial art limits success in fine art? Hmm, it’s an interesting question that my friends and I often discuss. I think these days the lines are so blurred, that I guess my answer is no, it doesn’t need to limit it.
Self-portraits is inherently linked to the concept of self-consciousness which is prevalent in your work, tell us why you decided to take self-portraits and what you discovered about yourself during the process? For me, it was totally accidental and circumstantial. It all started because I was living in the country and I couldn’t find people who would model for me, so I put it on timer and used myself. It was so easy – I was always available, would do whatever was required (like running through paddocks naked, or getting caught up in barbed wire fences). Eventually it morphed into an expression of my relationship with my environment, so I could only use myself in that body of work. Now that I don’t live in the country, I photograph others more.
What inspired you and your husband to start up your own company Opmanis & Green? Our mutual love of furniture and design. Eddy’s knowledge of furniture is profound, but he’s not so interested in ‘dressing it’. I have a more moderate knowledge, but an obsession with styling. It works.
ERYCA GREEN’S CHECKLIST:
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM CREATIVE COLLABORATIVE ENDEAVOR: I think perhaps I’m doing my dream collaborative work with Alice Edgeley the designer. She is my Muse. We work very well together – there is perfect trust and communication.
NAME YOUR POISON: Oh, coffee for sure. Can’t live without it.
IF YOU WERE TO DANCE LIKE NOBODY IS WATCHING, WHAT WOULD BE THE SONG OF CHOICE: Oh dear, I think it would be something horridly daggy that I can’t possibly say out loud!
IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO PHOTOGRAPH ANY ONE-PERSON LIVING/DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE, AND WHY: There are so many, but I think I’m going to say Nick Cave and his wife, Suzie. I’m fascinated by them both. It would be difficult to beat Polly Borland’s pics of them, mind you – she’s brilliant! Actually, I’d like to photograph her as well. Did I cheat on this question by saying three people?
FAVORITE ART GALLERY: Oh that’s tricky – there are so many good ones for different reasons. I have to say the Peggy Guggenheim in Venice. I cried I was so moved.
BEST CAREER ADVICE: Ha! I don’t think I’ve been given any, and if I was, I’m not sure I listened. I’m pretty sure my mother said, “Be an accountant.”
Australian abstract artist Boe Sapun is the founder and curator of Ecume Gallery. The Melbourne-based gallery represents both local, international, established, and emerging contemporary art. The idea of having great art accessible to a broad audience prompted the online gallery showcasing her own work, as well as a diverse range and ever-growing list of talented contributing artists. Boe’s passion is in discovering creative minds and understanding the finer nuances of their character which influence their process, inspiration, and art. Follow Boe Sapun and Écume Gallery on Instagram and Facebook.