In addition to my interest in shooting and documenting Coney Island in its present state, my other main inspiration for this series was a series that my friend Bob Lussier did last winter. He called it “Off Season.” It featured winter photographs of Salisbury, Massachusetts, a beach/resort town, and like Coney Island, its heyday is behind it.
Bob certainly didn’t invent the idea of shooting a beach or resort location in its off season, but he did it really well, and the cumulative effect of the series was quite powerful. Oddly, it took me a while to think of connecting that series idea with Coney Island. That is largely because Salisbury appears from Bob’s series to be a true resort town, with few year round residents, while Coney Island is a few blocks away from the vibrant Brighton Beach neighborhood and also from public apartment houses with plenty of full time residents.
I thought that to get the fully deserted look that Bob captured, I would have to go further afield from New York City, but the opportunities were there. I should not have been surprised as I often manage to get such shots on early weekend mornings in the city. Even though two of the images I have already posted feature people, I could have shot them without people. Shooting them with the people was a choice. But when I looked down Surf Avenue and saw this opportunity to capture it completely empty of people or even cars, I had to take it.
And speaking of Bob, he is hosting today the latest round of our HDR collaboration. He’s showcasing our work on one of his Bolton-Emerson Americas series. It’s a treat and an honor to get to work on such great images and collaborate with such talented folks. Please go check it out.