What’s up with the new site being so gritty Erika?

Ah, where to begin? No, I didn’t join the church of satan. I just wanted to express my thoughts on some important aspects of my life, my love for Hunter S. Thompson, and the other artists that surround me in Tribeca.

Tribeca is overflowing with art and graffiti splashed across the brick walls near my photo studio. It’s got a storied past when it comes to music, from the birth of punk rock at CBGB to the Mudd Club, which was just across the street from me. This is where legends are made, from skateboarders to YouTube stars like Casey Neistat, who happens to occupy the same art studio building as me. And of course, there’s the brand Supreme New York, which isn’t really my thing but is definitely popular with the young folks in Tribeca who keep my creative wheels turning with their endless ideas.

But, I grew up in the 90s, the era of alternative and grunge, Biggie and 2Pac, MTV, and late-night hits like Headbanger’s Ball, Beavis and Butt-Head, and Aeon Flux. My rebellious childhood came rushing back to me as I, like all New Yorkers, found myself stuck in my apartment during the pandemic. Maybe it was my mind’s way of finding joy in a time of isolation and depression. What better way to rediscover myself than by cranking up Rage Against The Machine or Nine Inch Nails and letting it all out?

On my studio door, I’ve got stickers from all sorts of heavy metal and alternative bands. One of them in particular caught my eye. It was Nine Inch Nails, and I felt like I was resonating with the spirit of Trent Reznor himself. The crosses were originally an accident – I was just trying to make a box – but I liked how it turned out. It tells a story of an artist struggling with the good and the bad inside all of us. That struggle is what shaped my life, gave me ideas, and brought me to this point in time where I’m writing this very article.

Studio Door of Erika Barker Photography in Tribeca

The site was heavily inspired by my love for Rage Against the Machines and all the wild stuff I saw while working as a journalist. One of the videos on the front page was from a night I almost got arrested because my buried desire to be a storyteller, not just a fashion photographer, came roaring back. After George Floyd’s death, there were a lot of peaceful protests in downtown Manhattan, but one night it turned into a full-blown riot. I’m not really sure what was going through my head, but I wanted to cover the action up close. Maybe it was my longing to be more than just a gal who takes quick snaps of pretty women. I never thought it would escalate to the point where I was watching local businesses get their windows smashed in, or where I was about to get jumped by a group of guys because I had a camera and I was a lone woman at 3 AM in a dark alley. I wasn’t really scared until I made it back to the studio and started processing everything that had happened over the last three hours. I was running on pure adrenaline and realized I could have ended up in jail because I didn’t have press credentials. But even though I hated seeing businesses get targeted, I found something important that I’d been missing since I got discharged from the military.

So the new site, the new logo – it’s a reflection of all the stuff that’s happened to me throughout my life, especially during the pandemic. It’s me fighting against that part of my mind that wants to be depressed, isolated, and not tell stories. It’s my internal war to be better than I was yesterday.