Interview: Eric Laurits

Eric Laurits is teaching a workshop entitled: Story Telling vs. Story Creating-- which asks the question, how can we preserve memories instead of creating them? Learn more about his workshop here. Website: eric laurits | :e: / Twitter: @ericlaurits

What do you love most about your job? Hmmm... what don't I love?! The best thing in the world is getting to say to people, "Look how beautiful you are. You have no idea. All I did was stand there and push the shutter button and beauty just pours out of you. There was no Photoshop, no directing or posing, no nothing. It's a completely honest image. That's just how you are."

What do you hate most about your job? Reception music. If my ears weren't so integral to how I anticipate and look for images, I would totally wear ear plugs. Seriously can't stand music made on computers and beat machines... I need to hear real instruments. You need to cut me some slack though. I was a music major so I'm a little particular.

Where do you find inspiration? Hmm... I don't really know. I just go out and make pictures. I think the things that people do are pretty awesome, so I just make pictures of that.

Is there a defining moment in your growth as an artist? I took the Roots Workshop and all of the sudden my life just clicked. All these ideas and beliefs that were swimming around in my head were suddenly organized and it was like someone added an s-curves layer to the way I saw the world. I began to notice the incredible importance in the way that we connect with each other. I finally understood why I had no interest in taking a picture of some flowers or some silly table settings... it was all about the people and their relationships for me. I'm so grateful now that I get to work at Roots - still a highlight of every year.

Aside from photography, do you have other creative outlets? My undergrad degree is in Music and my grad degree is in Acting. I pick up my instruments every now and again and bang away... and every so often I find myself reading some Shakespeare out loud or going over an old monologue... but I don't perform anymore [though you can see me on the TVs on all of the jetBlue flights -]. All I want to do is tell stories with my camera. I'm sort of consumed by it... for now :]

If you could go on a trip where would that be and what would you hope to do there? One of these days I'm going to up and move to a small hamlet in rural Ireland and never return. I'll work the pastures or be a middle school teacher.

What advice do you wish you had received (or followed) when you were starting your business? The business stuff will take care of itself, worry about making better pictures. There is no substitute for patience and hard work. The majority of the stuff out there is miserably mediocre. You can do better. Do not improve and maintain, destroy and re-imagine.

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? Huh. I'm not sure I remember. I have an atrocious memory. I think I wanted to be a marine biologist at one point... I know I still hold the record at my undergrad for the most official changes of major in college history. Too many things to be interested in.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Not to have to eat. I feel like it's a waste of time. I just want to keep going and always get annoyed when I have to stop whatever I'm doing and put something in my mouth. That's what she said.

What do you think of the current state of the wedding industry? I'm not really sure. I don't really like the wedding industry so I don't pay too much attention to it. I focus on making important images for my wonderful couples. I don't pay attention to other people's tweets, read other people's blogs, and I've never read or submitted to a wedding magazine or blog. Just not my scene. I'm sure it's a right fit for some people, but just not for me. I just do my thing, make imagery that lives in my couples' hearts and keep moving forward. I will say this... way too many people seem to be focused on the business aspects of their photography. That's all good - but don't be one of those all sizzle no steak businesses. You have a responsibility to aid in the preservation of your clients' legacy. That is of absolute utmost importance. You don't mess with that. Ever. Can you imagine living with that fact that you gave a couple mediocre images of the one day in their lives that they were surrounded by all their friends and family? What if it was the last day they got to spend with their grandparents? Be better.

If they made a movie of your life, what would it be about and which actor would you want to play you? Colin Farrell. Written by Martin McDonough. I would hope the movie would be really really weird, dark, irreverent, hilarious, full of heart...

What are your pet peeves or interesting things about you that you dislike? I can't stand when folks complain. It drives me up the wall and I often have to leave the room and take a walk to calm myself so I don't blow up in someone's face.

Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours. Hmmm well I'm extremely vulgar, incredibly irreverent, and often wildly inappropriate. Also, I'm addicted to juvie fiction. Adult books are sooooooo boring. I don't care about the Jones' and their struggles in middle class America. I want dragons, kids as heroes, adventure, and talking animals.

If you had to describe yourself using three words, they would be… he did what?

Last song you listened to? Music for 18 Musicians - Steve Reich