JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?
ERICH DELEEUW: I wanted to be a Garbage Man until I found out you had to work more than one day a week. Following this it was my dream to open Mr. Bones, A gourmet restaurant for dogs and their owners.
JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
ED: I heard so many great things about unpaid internships that I decided to help out on FUNCTION 15. This is a yearly publication produced by Ryerson Image Arts Students. All joking aside this has turned out to be a phenomenal experience. I got the opportunity to shoot stills for the interviews and take portraits. It was extremely inspiring to hear Max Dean and Gord Peteran speak to each other about the artist’s hand and their opinions of authorship.
JC: What are you up to right now?
ED: I just finished a showing a body of work produced around the Baltic Sea this past summer at the Westland Gallery. I released a photo book titled Visions along with a super–8 movie made over the course of the trip. In addition to this I’m building a wet plate camera with my good friend and fellow classmate Andrew. He was actually able to get in touch with Mike Robinson, the president of the daguerreotype society, a former professor and an all around bad-ass. He is currently in charge of the Archive of Modern Conflict. We got to meet up with him and look at some 18th century camera designs and he gave us some really great advice on how to build the camera backs.
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
ED: I had a great teacher in high school who really went out of her way to teach us the basics of photography, I recall her setting up a really make shift darkroom in the welding booth just so we could experience using a darkroom. I also worked in a lab in high school and had a really shitty boss who ran the store into the ground he kinda taught what not to do and how not to treat people.
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
ED: I’m currently based in Toronto, ON. Being from somewhat of a smaller city it’s been an interesting experience. I’ve noticed that you really have to put yourself out there, but if you do there are tons of great opportunities. When I’m bored I like to get lost and find my way back home to see what I come across.
JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?
ED: I haven’t graduated yet so I’m not too sure, I’d just say it’s good to be humble and to admit when you don’t know something.
JC: If all else fails - what is your plan B?
ED: I still think Mr. Bones is a good idea!
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
ED: Yes I think it’s very important to at least for myself. I find it very refreshing to be around people who are equally passionate about the medium. That being said I appreciate being alone for the most part when I’m shooting.