Philip Morel Laurens was born in Jersey in 1869, the only son of Philip de Caen Laurens (1839- ) and Mary Morel (1842-1871). His mother died when Philip was two and he went to Australia with his father and sister. Fifteen years later they returned and in 1890 Philip took over the family stationers and bookshop at 4 Halkett Place. He married Annie Mary Gibaut (1871-1957) in 1907.
It is not clear exactly what the family connection with the bookshop owners was. The previous occupants of 4 Halkett Place were William and Caroline Slater, who moved there from 56 King Street in about 1870. William died in 1874 and his widow continued their stationery and book business until at least 1886.
Like their successor, William and Caroline were both photographers, possibly on a professional basis, because prints of their photographs of Jersey scenes were sold and frequently appear today, some 150 years after they were taken.
Philip Laurens led a busy life, because he served in the Militia, and as a Vingtenier, Roads Inspector and Rates Assessor in St Helier, as well as playing the church organ and composing music. An amateur artist, he became an accomplished photographer, but he appears to have followed this pursuit as an amateur. In 1911 he left his shop and the parish of St Helier to become a farmer at Leda House in St Lawrence.