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Photographer Spotlight | Eric Cain

TCMM got the opportunity to talk with Austin-based photographer, Eric Cain, and hear more about how he got started working in the Texas Country scene and how that’s led him to where he is today. Eric is currently working full-time with Shane Smith and the Saints has a portfolio of work for other iconic Texas artists such as Ryan Bingham, Gary Clark Jr, Cody Jinks, Reckless Kelly, Flatland Calvary, Whiskey Myers, and many more. Eric's work has been published in Rolling Stone twice in the last six months.

What got you interested in photography and when did it become a profession for you?


“My passion for photography started when I was a teenager. My art teacher in high school encouraged me to start taking photography classes and that's when I picked up a film camera for the first time and quickly fell in love with it. After graduating, I played music in a band for several years and when the band broke up, I went back to college to study photography for multiple years. I spent two years learning all the ins and outs of shooting film, spending countless hours in a darkroom learning how to scan and develop my own film, and after that, I spent a couple more years studying digital photography, photo design, and photojournalism. After college, I started photographing more but somehow ended up on the other end of the camera for a number of years and also working on larger productions and eventually found my way back to shooting full time. Things really started to kick off for me professionally when my good friend Rob Leines, an excellent Texas-based musician, encouraged me to hit the road with him and start photographing bands and musicians.”


When did you get started photographing in the music space?

“I took photos years ago when my band would play shows and we would be at different venues, but at that time it was more for the fun of it than anything. As I mentioned before, it really kicked off when I hit the road with Rob last summer. I was going through a bit of a rough patch with some personal things, and he heavily encouraged me to come out on tour with them for a few weeks to take photos and clear my head. That eventually led me to meeting Silverada and shooting some photos for them, which then Mike asked me to come out on the road with them, and that opened so many doors for me. I really owe a lot to Rob and Mike, and I'll never forget that. We were at a festival in Northern California one day, and I had the opportunity to photograph so many incredible musicians that day, and later that night, I was having a conversation with Sierra Ferrell and Shakey Graves, and I happened to turn around and see Shane Smith standing nearby. He kind of waved at me, introduced himself, and said he had noticed that I was photographing their set and asked me, "did you get anything good?" I laughed in my head thinking, how could I not?! Haha. Anyway, I sent him some photos and posted a few on Instagram the next day, and a day later I got a call from their manager offering me a spot with the Saints. I've now been with them full time since November of last year. Since joining the Saints, I've now been able to photograph The Ryman twice, The Opry, Red Rocks, Royal Albert Hall in London, The Caverns, Sirius XM, CBS Morning Show, and many more. So many days I can't believe I've been fortunate enough to step foot on the stages of so many iconic venues. It's been a dream come true.”


What do you enjoy most about going on tour with bands in the Texas Country scene?


“They're simply the best folks to be around. The perfect combination of people that will push you, inspire you, lend out a helping hand when you really need it, and they always know how to have a good time. Also, I just love how much pride is in the Texas Country scene. I love people that are so passionate about what they're doing or where they came from, and that stands out so heavily in Texas. I feel like that's something that has been lost over the years, so I really love the pride that comes out of Texas. Plus, some of the best country music has always come out of Texas and continues to do so, therefore, I love being a part of it and a heavy advocate for the Texas Country scene.”


What are the most memorable shows or venues you've shot at?


“The first time I stepped onto the stage at The Ryman, it was a feeling I don't think I could ever explain. That's one of those places where you can't explain it, you can just feel the history that lingers in that place. Also, seeing the light pour in those iconic stained-glass windows is one of the most beautiful sights you'll see. In addition to The Ryman, Red Rocks was another that hits you like a ton of bricks. Seeing it in the daylight with no one there is beautiful enough, but when you're standing on that stage and looking up at 10,000 people singing their hearts out, it's unexplainable. I could go on and on, but I'll leave it to two more - The Opry and Royal Albert Hall in London. The Opry is self-explanatory - so many legends have stepped on that stage, and you're so honored to just be able to walk on the same stage that they have. And Royal Albert Hall took my breath away. Truly the most beautiful venue I've ever seen in my life. I mean, Muhammed Ali used to fight there, Zeppelin, Clapton, do I need to say more?! Haha”


Are you going on tour with any bands this summer?


“As I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to get a full time offer with Shane Smith and the Saints, so I'll be hitting the road with them indefinitely. I still try to catch other bands and photograph them when we're off the road or when we're playing bigger festivals and I've got time. I just always try to stay busy and working and getting better at my craft whenever I can. I'm beyond grateful for this life I get to live.”

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