Last week we had a chance to sit down with possibly one of the nicest people in photography, Eric Marr. Eric was in a talkative mood and did not hold back. Here's our convo...
SeniorInspire Looking at your Facebook profile I see that besides being a photographer, you're a Paraeducator at a high school. I have no idea what that is.
EM I was a paraeducator up until October, when after nearly 17 years I decided to change my daytime career. A para, for short, is someone who works in the special education department of a school. I would go to different classes and help students that needed assistance in order to succeed. This ranged from minor learning deficits, behavior problems, and focus issues all the way to students identified with Downs Syndrome, Autism, and even a few blind students.
Now after my career change I am the office professional for the K-state Research and Extension, Wildcat District Youth and Development. I have been able to use my creativity as an artist in this new position on a few different social media campaigns promoting things like 4-H and other projects that we as a district are working on. I have only been here just under two months, but am loving it so far!
SI What's your origin story as far as photography goes?
EM Ohhh okay… Well I always remember having some type of camera with me growing up. When I was young, like really young, I remember having a little 110 film camera that you would click the film into and it actually made the rest of the body of the camera.
SI You're old enough...
EM YES, I am old enough to remember 110 film… or film for that matter. LOL. I also had this bright orange Ninja Turtle 110 camera that had a little transparent turtle in the corner that when you took a photo the turtle showed up. It was kind of like a time stamp, but only a Ninja Turtle. BUT, if I had to say what really set me on my path of loving photography would be my freshman year of high school, when I took a yearbook photography class. After that I was hooked! I served on the photography crew all four years of high school, and applied for several scholarships with my photography until settling on a local community college. Fast forward a few years and a photographer that knew I was interested in photography called me up needed some help and BOOM I was in the industry. Went to a small workshop of Jeff Dachowski's and things clicked back into place. I worked for her for around six years, until we parted ways and then I eventually bought her equipment after she closed shop.
SI Funny, it was a Jeff Dachowski workshop that really made things click for me too. That guy get's around! So, what's a talent you have that brings you the most joy?
EM Ohh wow… It is hard to talk about myself in this way because for so long I felt that I really wasn’t talented enough to even say I had talent. I couldn’t sing, even though I enjoyed it, I can’t dance, and I sure can’t draw! I guess the talent that brings me the most joy would be the fact that as a photographer I get to make people feel good about themselves. I had a female client this year who came in and was pretty comfortable, and when she left her mom sent the text that we all love to get… You know the one, “Thank you so much, today was such an incredible experience. I can see how much my daughter loved her time shooting with you today and your session together boosted her confidence even. She is on cloud 9 right now… Thank you again.” I loved hearing that! I think that is one of the most important reasons we do what we do. I guess I have a big passion to encourage girls to be confident in themselves and not settle for someone else telling them what beauty is.
SI And what's a talent you have that's of little use to you?
EM A talent that I have that brings me little use…. ummmm…I really don’t know… I used to throw pottery in high school but after I graduated high school there really was no way to continue that. It is something that I enjoy doing, but just do not have the opportunity to do.
SI OK, I'm giving you the power to rid the world of one flavor of jelly bean. Which one are you getting rid of?
EM While I would like to say black licorice would be the go to on this one, there are some that are FAR worse! I don’t know if you have played it, or heard of it, but that Beanboozeled game they made with JellyBellies and then the bad flavors that look the same… you know that game?? I don’t know what evil person would make this flavor up and what circle of hell that they came from but… the flavor I would get rid of would most definitely be…. ROTTEN EGG!! I have never turned more shades of green in my life!
SI Which do you prefer? Cats or Dogs?
EM DOGS!! I have a 4 year old red heeler named Deakon, who is possibly the real life Tasmanian Devil… you remember the Looney Toons tornado guy… yeah, that is my dog! While he is crazy and full of energy all the time I kind of have to smile when he kisses my ears to wake me up, or jumps up to give me a hug. I mean I tried to have an inside cat once. I woke up to it staring at me like I could be its next meal and was over the idea of owning a cat really fast!
SIIf you won a million dollars, what's the one thing you would buy first?
EM I would buy my mom a new house, then a camera, and a new studio building… then I would invest that stuff quick, fast, and in a hurry. I am so bad with money that I would probably send it up in a matter of months… Get it away from me and just let me have some interest as allowance and I will be good! I always said I just want enough money to do things on a whim, like take my friends to Australia, go see my crew (#canoncf5), just things to make memories. I would like that a lot.
And with that the sun began to set on another day. We said our goodbyes to Eric, bumping elbows the corona way, jumped in our jet and booked it back to SeniorInspire HQ.