Eric Schusser

friend of the mountains and the snow

I have been fascinated by photography since I was a wee boy. I regularly watched my father taking photographs and then printing them in his darkroom. It was also a special time of walking and talking together along the southern Wellington coast with camera and tripod in hand. I developed patience waiting for the right light to develop. I heard my family history and learnt to speak German. I found these moments together creating images magical. They cemented a life long close relationship with my father as well as a love of photography.

I came to love the intense colours of the New Zealand landscape. I was drawn to the big skies and the dramatic weather changes. I found the graphic wide-open spaces of the South Island of New Zealand inspiring. I was drawn to the mountains through my career as an Outdoor Education teacher.

In time, my photography expanded and I developed an interest in the abstract beauty to be found in urban spaces. I have also come to appreciate people more and the importance of telling stories. I am fascinated by the power of text and photo together. 

I am intrigued by photo books. I have four Photo books published. “EXTRAordinary” tells the stories of Paramedics in New Zealand and the extraordinary work these largely volunteer people do. “Still Intrusion” and “Dissolving Margins” are both collaborative works with my wife Annemarie Hope-Cross, exploring her journey with breast cancer and my role as caregiver. “Visitor Number 4” is a personal social documentary on the effects of adult violence in a secondary school in the 1970’s.

I would describe my personal style as real, authentic, project driven photography. I invite the viewer to share my stories. I want my viewer to make an emotional intimate connection to an image, project or photo story where something resonates with their life experience, their humanity. This intimate, emotional style reflects my involvement over thirteen years as both a search and rescue volunteer and thirty plus years as a volunteer frontline ambulance officer/ EMT.

I have a diverse style and portfolio that includes social documentary, abstract and fine art imagery. I also have a particular strength in the black & white medium. I work primarily in this medium because I am drawn to the simplicity and complexity of light, form, line and shadow. Black and white preferences also reference the influence of my father, Franz Schusser.

I continue to travel and explore many paths on my photographic journey. Achievements along the way include completing an Advanced Diploma in Photography at Massey University of Wellington in 1999 and in 2007 I was awarded an FPSNZ, Fellow of the Photographic Society of New Zealand.

Contemporary fine art prints have led to me being the Central Otago winner of the biennial National Arts Gold Awards in 2013 and 2015.

I take inspiration from the exquisite black and white images of the California School of Photography (Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Minor White), as well as the multiple approaches of the Düsseldorf School of Photography (Bernd & Hilla Becher, Candida Höfer. Axel Hütte, Petra Wunderlich, Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky). I also greatly appreciate the social documentary work of Sebastian Salgado, Dorothea Lange, and Bill Brandt and the way a beautiful image can convey the grim reality of the human or environmental condition.

The images and projects of New Zealand photographic artists Laurence Aberhart, Anne Noble and Wayne Barrar resonate with me strongly as does the abstract painting of Irish-born American-based British painter Sean Scully. All these artists evoke a sense of wonder in me and their multi directional and nuanced approaches inform the aesthetic of all my work.