Photographer Barbara Erdmann

A Barbara Erdmann and Diane Byrne Design collaboration


Photographer, philanthropist, and mother of three, Barbara Erdmann is known in Fairfield County, CT for her stunning large-scale prints of natural scenes that hang in many local homes, galleries, high-end home decor stores, and places of business.  As one of Livewell’s first collectors, she also has the distinction of owning a vintage LW oxidized 100-diamond cuff. This month LW engages Barbara in a conversation about her work and her life.

What was your path to professional photographer?

I began as a hobbyist taking photographs of my children when they were young, not knowing photography would become my dream job.  The hobby became my passion and today it fulfills my dream of being a philanthropist. All profits from the sales of my work support about seven charities in the Norwalk, CT area. I have had the longest history with Horizon Student Enrichment Programs.

What do you seek to capture through the lens of your camera?

I look to capture the simplicity of nature, whether that be a pattern in the sand or the way that light is reflected in a turquoise sea.  I look for texture, repetition, or a pop of color that catches my eye – a spot of yellow made by a small boat in a vast sea, a pattern made by orange beach chairs on an open landscape. These things – patterns, textures, a pop of color, a lone person – are the heroes in my images. I look for the hero in my image. And I always look for the “feel good” image.

Why a “feel good” image?

I take all of my photographs when I travel with my family, so they become mementos of meaningful personal experiences. When people hang my photos in their homes, or when these photos are hung in public spaces, I want the image to transport the viewer to the beautiful place where the photograph was taken – to Capri, St. Barts, the Bahamas or Block Island. I want the photograph to feel good in a person’s home.

I am taken an oversized blue and orange rope photograph that hangs in Claire’s barn. Can you tell us about this photo and your rope series?

The photographs of the ropes were taken en route to Block Island, where my family and I spend a lot of time. It is a place we love. I was drawn to the ropes because they are tattered, dirty and worn, looking as if they already had a busy life of work. Then, I blew up the images – enlarging them becomes the “wow” factor.  The enlargement lets the rope to take on a personality.  

I notice you are wearing one of Livewell’s original cuffs.

Claire’s cuff is the hero image in my own personal style. The strength of the hammered oxidized cuff contrasts with the one hundred simply scattered diamonds that gently float in the heavy cuff. The cuff is the “wow” factor for me when I get dressed up. And it always feels good.

You seem to be drawing a connection between your photography and Livewell pieces?

I was not a jewelry person until I began to collect pieces of Livewell jewelry. I love the vibe of its simple and organic design. I wish for my photographs to feel as good to the person who is living with them as my Livewell cuff feels to me when I wear it. My cuff gets noticed, it is a conversation-starter, in the way I hope my photographs are, as well.

How do you feel wearing your Livewell jewelry?

I feel beautiful. They are the exclamation point at the end of a sentence. My Livewell pieces get noticed in the best way.

What would you say are a few of the ingredients of a life well lived?

Waking up with purpose is one. I wake up with such purpose. Knowing my passion helps other people’s children is another, actually my dream come true. And having a role model. My husband has been my role model in life. He is the most philanthropic giving person I know. He has made it his mission to give back every day and that inspires me to action. He has a moral compass that works in all directions. To be inspired by someone is an ingredient of a life well lived.

How would you fill in the blank Live _____?

Live with intent.



Susan DiMarco, jewelry designer and big sister to Claire O'Hare, has a signature style that we have coined "dressed up simple."

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1 comment

So lovely, Barbara! Your purpose, your art and your LW jewels!

connie casey March 02, 2018

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