Eric Meola was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, the son of a doctor. It was his father, in fact, that was responsible for his introduction to photography.
"In order to get me out of his hair, he introduced me to a man whose hobby was photography and so I went and visited him," he recalls. "The moment that I saw a black-and-white print come up in the developer, I was completely hooked. I knew at that moment that was what I wanted to do."
It was a few years later that Meola got his second jolt of photographic inspiration. While reading 'Parade' magazine one Sunday morning, an abstract color shot of a giraffe caught his eye - and his imagination.
"I just stared at that photograph for hours," he recalls. "I knew that whoever had taken that photograph was someone that I was very close to in terms of what I felt about photography." That photographer, of course, was Pete Turner. Meola, in college at the time, went to visit Turner and a year later, after graduating, went to work for him.
Meola only assisted for a year-and-a-half before venturing off on his own. Over the next five years, he worked for various magazines, including Time (for whom he shot three covers), Esquire and Life. In 1976 though, he turned his talents to advertising and quickly rose to fame in the New York advertising world, shooting for an elite list of clients that includes American Express, AT&T, BMW, Jeep, Canon and Kodak - and winning virtually every major industry award.
Most recently, Meola has begun devoting his time almost exclusively to a book project, entitled 'The Last Places on Earth' - a project that will literally take him around the world over a period of several years.