Artists-in-Residence (AIR) Program Fall 2019 Eric Waters

Joan Mitchell Center Artist-in-Residence

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Eric Waters

New Orleans, LA
➔ ericwatersphotography504.com

Eric Waters has been a professional photographer for more than 30 years. He studied under the tutelage of the late Marion Porter, a well known and respected black New Orleans photographer and owner of Porter’s Photo News. Waters decided early on in his career that New Orleans street culture had significant historical value and was worthy of documentation. Although he is sought after as an event and wedding photographer, he is best known 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 “insider’s view” of what makes this culture come alive.

Waters’s work has appeared on CD covers for jazz artists such as Bob French, Victor Goins, Juanita Brooks, Dr. Michael White, and Smokey Johnson. His work has also appeared in local and national magazines, newspapers, brochures, and show bills. He was the lead photographer for projects like Ties That Bind, an exhibit and catalog sponsored by the Casey Foundation, and Great Day in New Orleans, a group photo capturing 283 New Orleans African-American artists of all genres.

In 1985, he founded Ebonimages, a non-profit organization, to catalog and exhibit the collection of 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, and other social events.


“I strive to be a memory keeper who bears witness to a culture steeped in African-American mores, to give vision, awareness, and respect to its people, ensuring its sustainability. I want to create a cultural quilt of images that will meld all of the African-retentive cultures of New Orleans. To quote John Scott, ‘I am not an artist until the Community tells me that I am. I can’t call myself an Artist.’”


  • Chris Rankin ‘Prince of Wales’, SAPC, 2006, photograph (digital), 16 x 24 inches

  • Ms Marian ‘Banana Lady of Treme’, 2018, photograph (digital), 20 x 30 inches

  • Cultural Collage, 2018, photograph (digital), 20 x 30 inches

  • Victor Harris ‘FiYiYi’, 2015, photograph (digital), 20 x 30 inches

All works are copyright of the artist or artist’s estate.