In a couple days, I’m heading to Russia on my 7th trip to that amazing country. In the fall of 1992 I was invited to accompany a group of educators from West Virginia (my home state). I was a lowly local newspaper reporter, but I jumped at the chance and frankly haven’t looked back.
That first trip was in January 1993 and it changed my life and my career. It opened my eyes to other cultures and the act of seeing history, not just reading about it. That truly was the beginning of the “Adventure With a Purpose” ideal, long before I ever put it into words. I learned that it is important to understand other people and other cultures to better understand our selves.
Beginning with that first trip, made not long after the wall fall and the Soviet Union imploded, I began photographing the people of Russia. In the fall of 1994, I had a photo exhibit of my work at the WV Cultural Center (now know as the Culture Center) and published my work in a number of places.
This trip is exciting for two reasons. First, I am going to exhibit my Russian work in Russia for the first time. I am showing the “Russia, Coming of Age” exhibit from March 12-19 at the Moscow House of Cinema during the Moscow International Film Festival of Young Filmmakers. The feedback I have received from Russians who have seen this project is it is making them stop and think about their own lives and how things have evolved over the last 15 years. If you want to see the images, please visit my website at https://www.booksbyeric.com/russia1.html.
The second reason this trip is exciting is I am taking my mother along. This is her first trip out of country and it should be incredible for her. While I have many people to thank for the incredible support they have offered over the last 17 years (Dr. Virginia Simmons and the rest of the directors of the Russia and West Virginia Foundation, most notably) my mom has always innately understood that I wasn’t just joy-riding around the world, but learning and helping others around me to learn and understand, too. So, thanks mom. Can’t wait to get started on this one.
Pictures to come from the road..