Island photographer captures the old-fashioned in the new normal
When Steven Corie’s friend in March sent him an article about a photographer offering free shoots of people on their front porches during the pandemic, he was inspired, he said.
Photographing islanders — from a safe distance — was an opportunity to capture slices of life and moments in history when Americans were staying home and getting to know their neighbors again, he said.
It also was a way for Corie to return to his love of still photography, he said.
The project, which he calls “Galveston Porch-Traits” captures a rare time in the hectic age of social media when people are again spending time on their porches and with each other, he said.
In a time of social distancing, people were socializing in an old-fashioned way, he said.
“With social media and TV and everything going on these days, people just don’t sit on their porches,” Corie said. “Since all this was going on, people were tired of staying in their houses. They were waving as you drive by; reminds me of days of old.”
Corie, 70, began his career as a photographer in Dallas, shooting for D Magazine and Texas Monthly.
Soon, he began shooting production stills for companies making TV commercials.
He enjoyed that and became a gaffer, which is a chief lighting technician, and he was a lighting director.
After about 10 years, he found himself behind the movie camera as a director of photography, shooting commercials for Harrah’s Casinos, Walmart, Southwest Airlines, McDonald’s, Taco Cabana and Popeyes, to name a few.
In 2017, he retired and move to the island to be nearer his mother, Carrie Corie.
He first approached people he knew to be subjects of his portraits. But even people he doesn’t know are receptive after he explains his project, he said.
His dog, JosephBlue, is his is photo assistant, he said. People with their pets are a constant theme, he said.
“I love shooting people with their dogs,” he said. “It’s amazing how many people have pets on this island.”
The project is an ideal way to spend retirement, he said.
“My love for still photography is still huge, plus the beauty of Photoshop,” Corie said. “It has taken awhile to get used to the digital curve, but I’m getting there.”
Corie shoots with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, which he calls his main workhorse, and a Canon G56.
He hopes the project catches on and continues, eventually culminating in a coffee-table book, he said.
“As it catches on, more people will want to volunteer for it; it could just be ongoing,” Corie said. “I like to see people come out and smile and laugh on their porches.”