I’m a mother. With a husband who works right alongside me. And two children who are laughing and crying and learning in the next room. Working as a family. Building our dreams. Learning to grow our lives in a way that we never envisioned and yet we feel infinitely lucky to have been blessed with. So when news broke that one of our own, Amber Langlois – whose life mimics ours too closely – had lost her husband Eric, a beloved photographer that we’ve featured a million times here on SMP and that we know to be the industry standard for lovely, well it hit home. As a mother and a wife, I feel like I can only imagine what she is going through. And if she’s reading, I want her to know that we love her.
We hope that you will all take the time to read the beautiful tribute that Eric & Amber’s friend – and fellow LBB photographer, Carla Ten Eyck – wrote. It’s what life is all about and it will show you that although you might not know Eric, you understand him entirely. We’d also like to plead that if you even have an extra dollar to spare – no amount is too small – to please donate to his sweet family’s fund. Amber is pregnant with her third baby due on Christmas Day and this money will help to secure their family while they grieve. We have donated personally and will be donating through Style Me Pretty, as well. Every last penny counts.
From Carla Ten Eyck… This week we lost a close friend, mentor, employee and all around amazing person. Eric Langlois of RAW Photo Design, was searching for his bike he lost in a fall the previous day and never came home. After a massive search with hundreds of volunteers, his body was found a week later.
Eric was more than just a photographer. He was a loving, sarcastic and crazy funny husband, friend, practical joker, son, brother and father. He wore skinny jeans when I wasn’t sure if they were cool or not. He loved short sleeved plaid shirts. He actually owned a canadian flag unitard and was caught on camera once actually wearing it. With a Darth Vader mask.
Professionally Eric was a very sought after photographer and teacher. He had so much passion for photography. A self-taught photographer, he took care in what he learned so that he was the best he could be and quickly became a leader in our industry. His dedication to teaching was evident in his sold out workshops and huge student following. His work was edgy, different and not what everyone else was doing, and that was exactly how he wanted it.
Eric and I were bonded in our grief from losing our Mothers. I was his grief-guide. Told him all of the insider secrets that no one really tells you when you lose your Mom. I told him to drop everything and spend every last minute with her. That once she is gone, well. She is gone. There is no going back. Eric took my advice, thankfully. He spent as much time with his Mom as he could. He loved her with every spare space in his big heart until the moment that she left this world.
As I watched Eric eulogize his Mom I am brought to a day where I saw my dear friend at his most vulnerable. He let us all in to that moment when she passed away, with him cradling her in her bed, singing a song that she used to sing to his children. It was at that moment that I vowed to always be there for him and protect him no matter what. In friendship and in business. Anything he needed I would do. And so our friendship grew deeper and deeper over the years. Today I know that he knew there was nothing I would not do for him, whether he liked it or not. I was his Momma Bear.
Everyone had their own relationship with Eric. Some were based on strings of completely inappropriate texts that would have you howling with laughter. OK most were! Some relied on Eric for his expertise in one area or another, from off camera lighting to synching stupid BusyCal with ShootQ (this was a huge part of our relationship) He was the undisputed master of this! Other people would bond with Eric over being a very busy Dad and how to balance work and kids and really be present for your family.
I have been thinking a lot about what Eric meant to me this whole week as I was feverishly searching for him. All that he brought into my life, and the lives of our community. For me, Eric helped me in my own grieving process with my Mom, which is ironic since here I am now grieving him. The lesson in this? Eric knew loss. He celebrated life, he knew to love hard, forgive easy and spend every spare second with his family and those that mattered most.
A few years back Eric and I were at a workshop where one of the exercises was to write your obituary. He was one of two people who had the courage to read his aloud. I remember laughing so hard because he was funny as hell! But I also remember sobbing my eyes out when he spoke about his kids and saw how emotional he was while talking about what he wished for his family.
What little peace I can find in this whole ordeal is that Eric helped unite a community and gave us all the opportunity to feel true, real, hard love. Whether we knew him intimately or casually or not at all. His passion for his work, his friends and his family united us all on our quest to find him and bring him home.
A touching testimonial to the Eric we all loved, from Jim Altieri.