Darryll Jones doesn’t understand how it’s possible for someone to not be a Star Wars fan. “Isn’t everyone?” he said. The 42-year-old South African photographer was seduced into the film franchise by a dream in his early teens, and he’s been loving Star Wars ever since. “I was kidnapped by a bunch of Stormtroopers who ‘did things to me,'” he said of the dream. “They turned out to be a bunch of blonde Swedish women.” Talk about a way to get infatuated.
Eight years ago, Darryll moved to the United Kingdom and landed a temp job at Tesco in which he uploaded studio images. In a very short period of time, he learned a lot about photography, worked his way into the studio, and was eventually offered the opportunity to travel the country shooting for the retail store. Of course, he accepted the position, but he wanted a travel companion. He chose a Stormtrooper, and decided to use Instagram to document their adventurous life. Although Instagram was still in its infancy when he launched his account, today he’s gained more than 100,000 followers.
“We chatted a lot about life and other stuff, and he just kinda became ‘Eric,'” Darryll explained of the Stormtrooper’s name. “He kept me company on many journeys and developed a personality of his own, as have all of my little pals. I get pleasure out of knowing I make people smile. Making people laugh has always been my goal in my life and I’ve finally found an ideal platform to do so.”
According to Darryll, Eric’s favorite place in the world is Scotland, anywhere from the Highlands to the Isle of Skye. And it’s not only because of the breathtaking scenery—the people are super friendly too. He also explained that Eric craves adventure, and is always looking for lonely roads that bring him places he never knew existed. Eric also loves when his three best friends—Billie, Bob and Chewy the Bulldog—tag along.
Although life hasn’t been easy for Darryll, he said that he always aims to stay positive. “If you get bogged down by negativity, you’ll never amount to anything. It’s my dream to leave behind a story my girls can be proud of—that’s really my only goal,” he said. Thanks to Instagram and Eric, he’s had opportunities to work with big brands in great places.
For now, Darryll mainly makes a living as a food photographer with Grumpy Cock Studios. He also makes paintings with coffee. “It started as a prop for one of Eric’s paintings. I spilled a mug of coffee and had him paint a picture with it,” he said. “But it grew into something I do for people all over the world.”
Check out HaveYouSeenEric.com for more of Darryll’s photography and see more adventurous shots with Eric below.
© Darryll Jones
All images were provided by Darryll Jones and used with the photographer’s explicit permission. If you want to follow Eric’s adventures too (and Darryll’s coffee art), there’s plenty more to discover on his Instagram page!