Jeffrey Lorber is only partially retired.
He still works from an office, but that office is the former bedroom of his 35-year-old son who has long since moved out. Lorber has a toolkit he carries on jobs, but that toolkit consists of a camera, a tripod and a kneepad.
Since retiring as a manager at Assurant in April, Lorber has filled his time photographing classic cars across Georgia. The 70-year-old resident of Johns Creek photographs everything from fields of rusty vehicles to the most popular car shows in the state, shooting every angle he can imagine.
He has only one requirement which must remain constant across all his photos.
“It has to be cool,” Lorber said.
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Many of Lorber’s friends are also retired, but while they sit at home, Lorber is trekking across the metro area, looking for his next subject. He can often be found at Caffeine & Octane, a monthly car show at Perimeter Mall, or Gateway Classic Cars, a seller specializing in classic models with a location in Alpharetta.
“Some of my retired friends don’t know what to do with themselves,” Lorber said. “I’m just fortunate that I re-found photography.”
Lorber’s interest in photography began before he retired. In the last three years of his working life, Lorber was rising early and photographing whatever he could during sunrise, going into rural areas to capture a barn or a rusty car.
These photos found their way onto Lorber’s office walls, and he was soon receiving compliments from his coworkers. The attention towards cars grew for Lorber when he visited Old Car City USA, a classic car junkyard in White, Georgia, where anyone with a camera can pay $25 to enter the automobile graveyard and shoot photos all day.
After his retirement, Lorber found himself traveling to car shows in the area and teaching himself Photoshop, growing the interest into a full-fledged hobby. As Lorber’s digital editing abilities grew, his photos transformed from snapshots to the eye-popping images he now shows off.
One of the most recognizable aspects of Lorber’s photos is the color contrasts of the cars and background, often the sky: a silver Ferrari is standing out from an orange sky, a black Chevrolet set against golden rays of sunlight, a yellow Camaro in front of a blue glass building.
The inspiration for these photos started with Lorber’s fascination with photographing sunrises, he said. The photographer uses an app to rise before sunrise and capture different textures and colors in the sky. Then, he digitally inserts the sky photos in with the car.
Of course, Lorber said, the car is always his first priority. He shoots the car first before he matches it with a sky picture, of which has thousands, he said. His process has worked, slowly building him a reputation so that now car owners are reaching out to him for his services.
Lorber makes some money from his photos but often gives photos away too. If he needed to make money, Lorber said, he wouldn’t have retired. Still, he said he wants to maintain value to his work.
At Gateway, Lorber has cultivated a close relationship with the staff. Lorber’s photos hang on the walls, and he is allowed to come and shoot cars as he pleases. Jeff Wright, a salesman at Gateway who has come to know Lorber, said he recommends Lorber’s services to a new owner whenever he makes a sale.
The creative realm of photography seems like a far cry from his previous life working in the corporate world, but Lorber said he has always been a creative individual but it’s easy to forget that when you’re “buried behind a desk.”
Now that he’s no longer stuck behind that desk, Lorber has embraced photography. It, along with his family, has enabled Lorber to keep his life meaningful even after retirement.
“As you get older, you need something that’s fulfilling,” Lorber said. “People have relied on their jobs to be fulfilling; that’s their sense of fulfillment.”
“Then all of a sudden that’s gone. What do you have that gives you that sense of satisfaction?”