As a young man out of the navy, Eric Rickman soon found himself working in an auto parts store. Soon, Rickman was getting involved with building engines for cars in the Northern California Racing Association and the Oakland Speedway. To make ends meet, Rickman took a night job at a photo studio called Dana Photo developing film and making prints.
With access to the Oakland Speedway and cameras, Rickman was soon on his way to becoming an established photographer. Soon he was selling pictures to the drivers and their crew as well as having them published in local newspapers and programs.
In 1948 Rickman set up a stall in the Oakland Roadster Show displaying his photos. The show was created by Al Slonaker as a way of opening up hot rodding to the public. Never one to miss an opportunity, in the day time Rickman would photograph the cars in the show, print them at night to sell them to the car’s owners the next day.
Through Tom Medley, Rickman met Robert Petersen who was busy hawking the first edition of Hot Rod Magazine outside the Armory. He was soon employed to set up a lab in the office and join the small staff as a photographer. As Hot Rod Magazine took off, Rickman was involved in not only the photographing but also in organizing the NHRA and public relations.
In 1954, Rickman rode with Wally Parks, Bud Coons, Chic Cannon, and Bud Evans on the famous Safety Safari as a way to promote and legitimize drag racing. Rickman’s chronicles, shown in Hot Rod Magazine helped make drag racing become one of America?s greatest sports.
Rickman went on to work for Petersen Publishing for many years, photographing every car and hot rod star that crossed his path. His tireless nature allowed him to continue photographing well into his 80s.