If you’re anything like us, Instagram is way beyond a guilty pleasure—it’s an addiction. And we’re equally enticed by the personalities behind the pictures. That’s why we created Instagram Stories, our new weekly series showcasing the rich lives and experiences of what are commonly called "social media influencers.” We like to think of them instead as people with fascinating tastes and an impeccable eye: individuals we want to get to know better.
Howie Guja’s images seem to live in a sort of endless summer. Based in the town of Bellport on the East End of Long Island, New York, he has a passion and a gift for capturing the classic elements of his surroundings. Join us for a midday escape into his world.
“Since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated with the feeling of hidden places, and I like the idea of creating my own world when I need an escape. It’s like therapy to me. I love photographing places and things that appear timeless, lived in, and well loved. That could be anything from an old shingled cottage, a wooden catboat, or the salt meadows on the bay. I enjoy being outside more than anything, and I’m especially drawn to scenes that have character and a story to tell.
These are my happy places. The narrow boardwalk through the dunes of Ho-Hum Beach, my daughter running through the yard with her kite, a road lined with old sycamores, kicking my feet up while sailing, getting close to wildlife—really just enjoying the lifestyle on Eastern Long Island to the fullest.”
“I love houses and architecture, especially historic homes. I don’t really have a favorite style, but I’m partial to Shingle Style homes and the coastal Northeastern vernacular. I’m a bit of a maximalist when it comes to my own interiors—I like things to be fun and informal, but full of texture and with pieces that remind me of the people and things I love.”
“Summer on the East End to me means warm early mornings in the garden and smelling the salt air when I step outside. Days are spent sailing, paddleboarding, exploring, and spending time with friends. Wooden boats, classic cars, shingled houses with porches, and the dunes at the beach in the golden evening light... There’s so much to take in and be inspired by—I try and spend as much time as possible outdoors.”
“When I first joined Instagram, it was just something fun to do with the informal photos I’m always snapping away on my phone—I had no expectations whatsoever. I never imagined I would meet so many people [through it] and make some really great friends. It’s opened up a lot of new opportunities. I’ve worked in commercial photography and marketing for about 10 years, but what I posted to my Instagram were just the things I loved. And now I’m getting contacted by brands and picking up new photo work doing lookbooks and social campaigns. I recently got into real estate sales at the urging of local broker Old Purchase Properties after people were coming into the office saying they’d found out about the area through my Instagram account. I got my license last fall, and it’s been incredible thus far. I love meeting new people and showing them my world.”