Erik Richards was a great inspiration to me and a dear friend. He was instrumental in my move towards portrait photography. Erik had played a massive part in my partner's life for years before our paths had crossed, it was suggested that I spend some time with Erik in his studio. I was reluctant at first; surely I'd just be in the way, I knew how busy Erik could be and how established he was in the industry, I couldn't imagine him having the time, or the interest to mentor me.
But I couldn't have been more wrong, Erik found the time, he selflessly shared his knowledge and it wasn't long before he went from being a mentor to being a friend. I was lucky to spend some quality time with Erik, meeting up after work to take photos in the West End or down by City Airport. Sometimes further afield like Broadstairs on the south coast, Newcastle and Northern Ireland.. it was always an adventure with Erik.
I attended my first London Fashion Week event with Erik, and it was thanks to him that I developed a taste for fashion and portrait photography. Forever resourceful, Erik taught me the real meaning of thinking outside the box. He will always be one of my biggest influences, my guiding light.
His funeral left me suspended in two states; my heart was heavy from saying farewell to a dear friend way too soon, yet my spirit was high because I had the fortune and the pleasure of knowing this man who I looked up to, who helped me to grow, who made me laugh, who filled up my inbox with trash, who's laugh could be heard miles away, who's tongue could be sharp enough to cut bread, and who I grew to love.
And although my friendship with Erik was brief, it turns out that it was every bit as valuable as that of any long time friend. And I'm going to miss him very much.