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Photo of Erika Budiman with giant bretzel


The Long and the Juicy!

Hello! It’s a pleasure to meet you :) Thank you for taking the time to get to know me a little better.

With over 25 years of experience as a graphic designer, I’ve had the privilege of working with esteemed organisations such as Melbourne Museum, Penguin Books, Arts Centre Melbourne, Hardie Grant Books, and the National Gallery of Victoria.

A significant portion of this time was dedicated to designing books. Books don’t just carry information or stories for me. I love them as tangible objects, their feel and texture. And let’s face it, we do judge books by their covers!

Working at the Arts Centre was a dream come true for me. I have always been enamoured by the performing arts. Seeing Circus Oz for the first time as a teenager had a profound influence on me. And when the opportunity came to attend their adult workshops I ventured bravely into my doppelgänger life as acrobat. Together with like-minded friends, we even formed our own amateur circus group and performed at many community festivals (including Moomba!) and pub gigs. A carnival life was beckoning, but ultimately I chose life as a graphic designer (and later photographer).

During my nine years working in-house at the Arts Centre as a Senior Graphic Designer in the Marketing team, I designed a diverse range of marketing materials, including exhibition catalogues, brochures, posters, and signage for the Arts Centre and its affiliated stakeholders. Occasionally working back late,

I loved the vibrant buzz of patrons arriving for a show on my way out of the building. 

One of the highlights of my time at the Arts Centre was the opportunity to attend the many shows the Arts Centre hosted and promoted. It was such an incredible bonus. I now purchase tickets like everyone else, but the anticipation and joy of seeing the curtains rise for a dance, theatre, concert, or circus show remain unmatched.

When my daughter turned two, I made the decision to transition into freelance work, allowing me to find balance between professional pursuits and family life. And I’ve never looked back!

My foray into freelance life led me back to work in the publishing industry. I designed books mostly for Hardie Grant Books. For a number of years, I worked on a range of travel books, including a series called Hide & Seek. These were pocket guide books unveiling Melbourne’s many hidden treasures. However, their popularity led to a demand for Hide & Seek guide books covering nearly every capital city in Australia. Many places the books featured were unable to provide high-quality photographs, so I offered to go out and capture better photos myself.

Enter my renewed interest and pursuit of professional photography. 

Exploring the city, meeting a diverse range people and capturing their stories with my camera became addictive. After all, I met people with whom I shared a love for this amazing city – its ever-changing culinary landscape, its thriving cafe scene, its many quirky experiences and bountiful retail offers. What’s more, being out and about was the perfect counterbalance to time usually spent behind a computer screen.


And thanks to the support and flexibility of a husband who looked after our young daughter, I was able to travel and photograph many of the hidden treasures across Australia.

A few years later, Melissa Kayser, then editor and now publisher at Hardie Grant Books, entrusted me with the extraordinary task of researching, writing, photographing, and designing my very own book. Yep, you heard right, the whole kit and caboodle, and all that within a limited six to seven-month period. 

It was an intense period that nearly killed me. There was definitely some unsightly nervous twitching on my behalf! But in the end, the success of my Food Truck Feasts book resulted in three print runs and approximately 10K copies sold. It remains one of my proudest achievements.

The saying may go “Do one thing and do it well”. As such, common business sense would suggest specialising in just one field of photography. But what if I enjoy it all?

Portraiture offers the lovely opportunity to chat, connect and get to know my sitters. But I also savour the solitude to concentrate on a still life, taking my time to shape each composition. And travel photography, well, who doesn’t like to travel (and take home a bucketload of digital memories!)?

So, now that you’ve gotten to know a fair amount about me, I would love to get to know you!

Feel free to call me or email me, and let's start talking :)

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