Shawn Andreasen Fermenter © Carl Corey
Shawn Andreasen Fermenter © Carl Corey

We are pleased to share the work of Carl Corey on the American worker.

Would you please tell us a little about yourself?

I am a career photographer.  After twenty-five years as a commercial photographer and director / cameraman I returned to my roots in 2004 to work as a subjective documentary (intended contradiction) photographer.

How did you get started photography?

In 1963 At age nine my parents gave me a brownie. I still have it.

Which photographers and other artists work do you admire?

Walker Evans, Saul Leiter, William Eggleston, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, William DeKooning, and Banksy

Would you share with us an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time.

“Migrant Mother” by Dorothea Lange.

“Migrant Mother” by Dorothea Lange.

How did your series “American Worker” come about?

Working on my third book, “For Love and Money – The Family Business”, I became intrigued by the hourly wage earner.  I wanted to do something to make folks aware of the economic and social importance that our workers provide.  I absolutely believe they represent the foundation of America and without them there is no United States.  They need to be respected and compensated fairly.  I created the BLUE project in the hopes of in some small way making progress in that arena.

Do you have a story about one of your images that you would like to share?

Rather than one singular picture, if I may, I’d rather relay the story from BLUE.  I always learn so much from working on a project.  Each one is like a focused study within a demographic.  What I have learned from BLUE is how justifiably proud American workers are of their work.  They know they provide a value to society and they appreciate work and the subsequent contribution on many levels their work provides.  They are very generous, hard-working and friendly people.  Of the hundreds of people I have photographed for BLUE only one has declined to participate.

© Carl Corey
© Carl Corey
© Carl Corey
© Carl Corey

Please tell us about your process and what the perfect day for you.

I spend a lot of time configuring the logistics of a project.  They all take several years to complete.  I make contact, gain access, and scout.  Then after my initial scout I will return with a camera to make pictures . I never just walk in with a camera as I feel it shows no respect either for the subject or the process.  I use an older classic Hasselblad with a high-resolution digital back for these projects and the best lenses available.  I am always on a tripod.  The action of cranking the shutter sets a nice rhythm to a portrait session and I can tell you from almost fifty years of experience the tripod tells the subject this is important, that they are important, and I respect them.

A perfect day is one that I wake up.

Is there one thing that you wish people would stop doing when it comes to the creative process or in the art world?

Please don’t consider everyone with a camera a photographer.  The tool does not cover the price of admission.  We all have pencils, but we are all not writers.

What challenges do you face as an artist?

It is interesting that the challenges never go away.  They change but the challenge always remains.  This is a necessary component to the creative process.  My creative challenges are mostly internal and I am sure not unique.  Access to subjects is a big challenge for BLUE.  Corporations do not trust a guy with a camera and it takes a lot of discussion to convince them I have their best interest in mind.  Gaining trust is the biggest challenge I face.

© Carl Corey
© Carl Corey
© Carl Corey
© Carl Corey

If you could spend a day with another photographer living or passed who would it be?

John Szarkowski.

How do you view this time in the history of photography?

There has never been a more visual time in history.  Collecting is at an all time high.  That being said it is very important to not lose sight of the craft and intelligence a good photograph exhibits.  I see a trend towards banal, poorly crafted pictures.  Many are appreciated by gallerists and curators because they are unique.  I contend they are unique because previously only well executed pictures containing intelligent content were exhibited. So while there are many unique pictures being exhibited, they compromise our art.

How do you over come a creative block?

I always have several projects in the works.  This allows me to be more productive and allays creative block from being an issue.  I stay busy so a creative block cannot set in.  Work is a vaccine against a creative block.

What do you hope the viewer takes from your images?

A better understanding of the subject and themselves.  I also hope it calls them to react in their own creative way.

How does your art affect the way you see the world?

Of course, I am always seeing within a frame, always editing, and considering a scene.  I am also more interested in others than I believe I would be if I was not a photographer.

Where can we see your work, and would you like to share any upcoming projects?

I have three books.  “Rancher”, “Tavern League”, and “For Love and Money”, all available to order at your local bookstore, online, or signed from me.  BLUE will be released in 2016 or 2017.  I am working with several galleries who would be glad to show work.  ROSE Gallery in Los Angeles, Hamburg Kennedy in NYC and, wall space in Santa Barbara, Sherry Leedy in Kansas City, and Art Beatus in Hong Kong.  There is some work in a few museum collections as well, all listed on my website which also has several portfolios available for online viewing.

My newest project, now completed, is the journal I created of a four-hundred and eighty mile walk across Wisconsin “Along the Yellowstone Trail”.  I also have a series “Americaville”, observations on life in America.  These are made almost daily with a small camera that is always with me and are mostly absent of people.

Thank you for your time we look forward to sharing your art.  Thank You! I appreciate your interest and support for our craft.

To learn more about the work of Carl Corey please visit his site, Carl Corey Photographer.

To learn more about Dorothea Lange, please visit, Grab a Hunk of Lightning.” and The Library of Congress.

Thank you to the photographers that share their work with us.

No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of Rfotofolio, and the photographers.
2011 – 2016 © All rights reserved.


2 thoughts on “Carl Corey, Blue Project

  1. Wow. There cannot have been a better tribute on this Labor Day to the working people who have made this country what it is than these stunning pictures from Carl Corey. The honesty of his photography and the obvious appreciation for his subject is palpable. Thank you Rfotofolil and thank you Carl Corey for this memorable experience.

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