Eric Meola’s graphic use of color has informed his photographs and his distinguished career for more than four decades. As an undergraduate at Syracuse University he studied photography at the Newhouse School of Journalism, graduated in 1968 with a B.A. in English Literature and then moved to New York City in 1969 to work with Pete Turner as his studio manager.
Eric’s prints are in several private collections and museums and he has won numerous awards including the “Advertising Photographer of the Year” award in 1986 from the American Society of Media Photographers. Showcasing a portfolio of his color images in its October 2008 issue, Rangefinder magazine referred to Eric as one of a “handful of color photographers who are true innovators.”
In 1972 he photographed Haiti for Time magazine, resulting in one of his most famous images, “Coca Kid,” which was included in Life magazine’s special 1997 issue “100 Magnificent Images,” as well as the ASMP archive at the International Center of Photography. His Time cover portrait of opera singer Beverly Sills was included in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery. In 1980 he had his first major exhibit in New York at the “Space” gallery in Carnegie Hall, and his signature red, white and blue image “Promised Land,” was chosen for inclusion in the permanent collection of the George Eastman Museum. In 1989 he was the only photographer named to Adweek magazine’s national “Creative All-Star Team”; and that same year he received a “Clio” for a series of images he made in Scotland for a breakthrough campaign featuring the outerwear clothing of the Timberland company. “Fire Eater,” his iconic image lips of a woman submerged in water was included in Robert Sobieszek’s 1993 book on advertising "The Art of Persuasion", and he is one of the photographers whose most famous image is featured in photographer Tim Mantoani's book "Behind Photographs".
Eric has lectured extensively, including at Syracuse University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, Brooks (Santa Barbara), the Art Center at Pasadena, Parsons, the Academy of Art College (San Francisco), the George Eastman Museum, and venues including PPA, WPPI, and ASMP.
In 2004, Graphis Editions published his first book The Last Places on Earth, a look at disappearing tribes and cultures throughout the world. An exhibition in England of his photographs of Bruce Springsteen coincided with the publication of his second book Born to Run: The Unseen Photos (Insight Editions, 2006). In 2008 the publication of INDIA: In Word & Image (Welcome Books, NY) was followed with an exhibit in 2009 at the Art Directors Club of New York. In 2011, Ormond Yard Press of London published his most unusual book, an oversize (18”x24”, 14 lbs.) edition of photographs of Bruce Springsteen—Born to Run Revisited—that was limited to 500 copies. Streets of Fire, his fifth book, was published by HarperCollins in September of 2012. In October 2013, Welcome Books published an expanded version of INDIA: In Word & Image, as the previous version sold out. In April 2014, he received the "Power of the Image" George Eastman award as part of ceremonies and an exhibition celebrating the work of twenty-two photographers in Beijing, China.
In September 2015 he had an exhibit of his photographs of tornadic weather at New York’s Bernarducci Meisel Gallery. He is currently working on a book about his most recent passion, storm chasing in America's Great Plains, and it is due to be published in 2019.