Bay Ridge photographer Dan Marino was born and raised in Brooklyn, so he knows a thing or two about stoop culture.
Stoops and other Brooklyn architectural features have shaped and permeated his work for decades, and his latest project uses the feature as its namesake and bonding theme to relieve feelings of isolation in communities dealing with COVID-19 quarantine.
“In the 80s and 90s ‘the stoop’ was really what we did,” Marino said. “There wasn’t a lot to do before social media other than hang out with your friends and your family until you got old enough to go out.”
Back in the day, stoops were a gathering place for families and friends–as they still are–and Marino said he wanted to use them to inspire people to connect with one and other through photographs, even if they didn’t have a stoop.
The Social Stoops project is not physically tied to stoops only; Marino said it is about sharing photographs of yourself or friends and family enjoying life wherever that is, and right now, that is at home.
Marino started by posting a collection of his stoop photographs from the 80s to now, using the hashtag #socialstoops, and encouraging people to post photos from any era or location with the hashtag.
“A lot of people complain they aren’t home enough and now we have the chance to be home. So it’s about appreciation, enjoying life and how you can show that in photos,” he said. “Should we have cabin fever right now or should we be enjoying this to the best of our abilities until it is lifted.”
Marino said he hoped to spread positivity though the project, especially as it was hard for many people to quarantine alone at the moment. “If this has taught us anything, it’s that life is very short,” he said. “It’s a cliché, but it’s what we make of it.”
The Social Stoops movement was spreading beyond Brooklyn, with photographs being hashtagged on Instagram and Facebook from California to Georgia to Valencia in Spain.
Marino is also bringing local businesses into the movement, promoting them through Social Stoops hashtagging and contests, saying it was all about supporting communities.
But of course, it started here in Brooklyn, because as Marino put it—“doesn’t it all start right here in Brooklyn?”
“I’ve left and I’ve come back 100 times and that’s the reason why …
“We have a story to tell.”