Coney Island, 2015
Every artist, at some point in their career, experiences a profound urge to revisit their upbringing and re-explore their roots. For a kid growing up in Brooklyn, you can imagine the magnetism of Coney Island. Whether visiting alone, with friends, or with family, I always found something (or oftentimes, someone) new and interesting around every corner.
After backpacking through Southeast Asia for a month, I returned to Brooklyn with a new admiration for home. While enjoying my daily run on Ocean Parkway, it hit me: “I don’t need to travel to find unique subjects for portraits. I can do it here.”
On a Wednesday afternoon, I brought my camera and collapsible white reflector out to Coney Island. I started talking to beachgoers and performers, bringing each out of their social comfort zone before asking them to take their photograph. In the process, I was able to portray some of Coney Island’s most interesting characters – the types of people who embody authentic Coney more than a century removed from the nostalgic resort’s heyday – in a literal light. These portraits range from wholesome, to edgy, to full-blown wacky – a combination truly representative of Coney Island itself.