Sag Harbor Photographer Tom Kochie Remembered for Art & Generosity
Sag Harbor artist and photographer Tom Kochie, a beloved and nearly ubiquitous figure in the East End arts and events scene, died with his wife and daughter beside him on May 30 after a four-month battle with a difficult illness, and just one week before his 75th birthday.
Born in Easton, PA in 1948, Kochie had a long history of shooting photographs at Hamptons events and art and society happenings for local and national publications, including The Southampton Press, Sag Harbor Express, The Independent, The New York Times and Dan’s Papers, where he served as our photo coordinator starting in 2012, among others.
He also shot for numerous arts institutions, museums, galleries and organizations, such as the Watermill Center, the Parrish Art Museum, Guild Hall, the LongHouse Reserve, Art Southampton and so many more. Kochie often donated his time and hard work to a variety of charitable groups, capturing beautiful photographs for no charge because he loved what he did and he cared deeply.
And for those who knew him, or even just saw him out and about, his wife of more than 50 years, Pat, was regularly at his side. The couple married on Valentine’s Day in 1969 and remained together and simpatico in the half-century since. In addition to Pat, who survives him, Kochie leaves behind their daughter, Chanda Hall, son Brian and two granddaughters.
Upon learning of his passing, friends and colleagues shared an outpouring of love and appreciation for Kochie and his generous spirit, including all he gave to nonprofits and other worthy causes, and for his remarkable relationship with Pat, the woman he loved so dearly for more than five decades.
He studied at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and began his career as a street photographer in New York City. Kochie continued to shoot fine art photography throughout his life.
A lifelong fan of music and capturing moments of expression without words, he wrote in an artist’s statement, “My approach as an artist is to find and express the varied dimensions of the human experience of the world, be it spiritual, sensual, hedonistic, transcendent, psychological, mystical, mythic … When I shoot, it’s really intuitive and fluid. It’s not really a conscious act, but more like an improvised dance or musical piece.”
Kochie’s family is not holding a service for him at this time, but they are planning to honor him with a celebration of his life in Sag Harbor later this summer, and they said, “The playlist will be epic.”