Eric Waters has been a professional photographer for more than 30 years. He studied under the tutelage of the late Marion Porter, a very well known and respected black New Orleans photographer and owner of Porter’s Photo News. Through his relationship with Marion Porter he was taught to really see the world around him in a way he had not noticed before. It was this relationship that built the foundation for Waters’ future in photography.
Waters decided early on in his career that New Orleans Street Culture had significant historical value and was extremely worthy of documentation. Although he is sought after as an event and wedding photographer, he is known best for capturing the vibrant and energetic scenes of the Second Line and the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians. He is one of few photographers with the “insiders” view of what makes this culture come alive.
His work appears on CD covers for Jazz artists such as Bob French, Victor Goins, Juanita Brooks, and Smokey Johnson. His work also appears in local and national magazines, newspapers, brochures, and show bills. Hahnemuhle USA selected his work on the clarinets and the Mardi Gras indians to showcase a new line of archival paper at the Imaging Expo in New York because of his technical proficiency, the richness of color, and the beauty of the subject. He was the lead photographer for projects like “Ties That Bind”, an exhibit and catalog sponsored by the Casey Foundation, “Great Day in New Orleans”, a group photo capturing 283 New Orleans African-American artists of all genres, and the Jazz and Heritage Foundation Archives.
In 1985 he founded Ebonimages, a non-profit organization, to catalog and exhibit the collection of Photojournalist Marion Porter. The organization is dedicated to documenting African-American culture in New Orleans, especially jazz musicians, Black Mardi Gras Indians, Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, Second Line parades, jazz funerals, social events, et al.
In 2005 Waters lost his home and the majority of his life’s work to Hurricane Katrina. But, it has not deterred him or his desire to continue the documentation of the culture. Semi-based in Atlanta, Georgia, Waters travels often to New Orleans to continue documenting the culture he loves. He travels because it is even more important now that he does his part to keep that culture alive.