Erik Voake is a photographer and filmmaker. He began his career at the age of 19 producing and directing action sports films. Working with top athletes in some of the most remote and exotic regions of the world, and shooting exclusively on 16mm film, Erik quickly rose to the top of his genre. His film “Slednecks,” a documentary on freestyle snowmobiling, was given the Best Stunt Film award at the X Dance Film Festival at Sundance. Erik’s film featured the first ever backflip on a snowmobile and also paved the way for the sport to be included in ESPN’s X Games.
Erik’s work soon drew attention from Hollywood. He went on the produce and direct the definitive documentary on Ice T’s heavy metal band Body Count, best known for the controversial song “Cop Killer.” Erik also began directing music videos for RZA from the Wu Tang Clan. In 2006, Erik’s long-time friend and mentor, Larry Clark, director of films such as KIDS and Bully, approached Erik to be the Director of Photography on a documentary about the effects of pornography on kid’s sex lives. The film “Impaled” was screened at Sundance, Cannes, Edinburgh and the Locarno film festivals, and at the Tate Modern Museum in London.
Shortly after, Erik partnered with Charlie Corwin, owner of Original Media and creator of Miami Ink and LA Ink, to sell a reality show about finding the next Evel Knievel. The show titled “Crusty’s Dirt Demons” was sold to FUSE and was their highest rated new show of the season. Next Erik went on to co-produce and work as the director of photography on the Lions Gate film “A Day in the Life” which was written completely in rhyme and was dubbed a “hip hopera.”
In 2007 Erik received a call from a producer at Sony asking if he would be interested in traveling to Baghdad to shoot a short documentary. Erik jumped at the opportunity. Even though Erik was shooting video, he brought his still camera with him everywhere he went. After returning to Los Angeles, at the urging of friend and mentor, MOCA trustee, Gil Friesen, Erik organized a photography exhibit of his war-related material. Erik’s work was met with mixed emotions from galleries; they admired the work but were reluctant to exhibit it at the time.
Deciding he needed to pursue photography with different material, he asked friend and owner of the Roxy Theatre, Nic Adler, if he could spend a year documenting all the acts at the Hollywood venue. Nic agreed, and so for first time in its 35-year history the Roxy gave all access to just one photographer. The exhibit, aptly titled “Roxy 365,” opened at the Celebrity Vault in Beverly Hills. A photo from the show that he posted on Flickr let an assignment from SPIN magazine. Now three years later, Erik is a regular photographer for SPIN and many other magazines. His work has also been published in Rolling Stone, VIBE, The Economist and other publications. In addition to major musicians, he has photographed notable subjects including President Obama and Noam Chomsky. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.