A Chat With Local photographer Blair Stevenson
Her name is Toma Carolyn Blair Yokley Stevenson, but most of us just call her Blair. In the five years she has been living on the island, she has, along with her boisterous other half Roger Rutledge, become an integral part of the Folly community. At most events and fundraisers, you’ll find Roger behind the mic and Blair behind the camera, helping to raise money, awareness, or just celebrate whatever the cause is at the time. They call the east side home with their adorable pup Copper, and if you are lucky you have been in attendance at one of their many backyard fireside jam sessions.
Blair is a talented photographer, and you can check out her work at smugbug.com under TCB photography. Email her at email@example.com for availability and rates. She recently did some beach photos of my new little family and they are priceless! In addition to her great eye for pictures, she also has an endearingly warm heart. She agreed to come to my house and hold baby Quinn for me while I got to know a little more about her.
Folly Current: What brought you to Folly Beach?
Blair Stevenson: I was born in Detroit, Mich. but grew up in North Carolina. My dad was an FBI agent so we moved a good bit. I went to college in Sarasota, Florida and got a degree in Graphic Arts. I went back to school at Highpoint College and got dual degrees in Psychology and Theology, and became a bereavement counselor. I did that for about five years before deciding as a single mother to return to school again for Nursing.
I was a critical care nurse for awhile, and then started working from home coordinating medical care for workman’s comp patients. While doing that, I got a call from a headhunter offering me a job in Charleston. Both Roger (who I had been dating for about a year) and I really loved Charleston, so we decided to put our houses on the market and move down together! The only apartment we could find was in Ladson, so when I could I would explore different areas we might want to settle in. One day I saw a sign for Folly Beach off I-26, and thought “that sounds like fun”, so I followed the signs and ended up on Center Street. I pulled over and started walking on the beach, and saw the “All You Need Is Love” graffiti on the east side and said “this is where I’m going to live.”
FC: What is your favorite thing about the island?
BS: The ocean, of course. But the sense of community is really what sets this island apart. There’s just a different vibe on the island; the majority of the people here are from somewhere else, but everyone just makes it their home and melds together into a cohesive group. I’d like to mention that Roger and I are always here for any of our neighbors. I think sometimes people are afraid to ask for help when they need it, but we love contributing and feel that’s part of what makes Folly so amazing!
FC: What inspired you to start taking pictures?
BS: Roger emcees so many benefits, that I just started taking pictures at the events because the people are so interesting. I thought at least if I ever leave here, I’ll have pictures of the experiences. I like taking candid shots when people are just being themselves, and I really love taking pictures of children.
FC: What is your dream Folly photo shoot: who, what, and where?
BS: It would be of all of Roger’s three children, my son, and all the grandkids together, down at the lighthouse.
FC: What is one thing your neighbors would be surprised to learn about you?
BS: I love to sing, but I can’t carry a tune (which is funny considering my mother’s name is Patsy Cline). The other day I was singing to myself on the couch and Copper came over and starting pawing at me to stop! Everyone’s a critic.
Writer Miranda Jordan is a guidance counselor, musician, and freelance writer. To reach her, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.