Coney Island Love Affair – Mermaid Parade 2013

Although I was only at the Mermaid Parade for a few hours this year, it seemed to be the perfect amount of time. I don’t go for the actual parade, I arrived hours after the parade. The idea of photographing people “parading” down a street doesn’t interest me at all. But afterwards, as the worlds of spectacle and spectators intertwine on the boardwalk and side-streets, that’s when the true magic of  the day happens. I never ask  anyone to look at my camera and if they do, I rarely like it.  I prefer to be invisible during my time there. That’s always been how I preferred it and how I did it when I first started photographing Coney Island 12 summers ago when I lived in nearby Manhattan Beach and would spend every weekend on the boardwalk listening to the soundtrack of Requiem for a Dream and shooting film.  It’s great to see Coney Island back in full force after Hurricane Sandy and along with it being preserved I hope that it continues to grow and never loses its distinct mix of seaside excitement, artistic expression and the awesome people who make it what it is.

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Oh Brooklyn…

“You are a splendid butterfly
It is your wings that make you beautiful
And I could make you fly away
But I could never make you stay”

All My Little Words by The Magnetic Fields

It feels like a day doesn’t go by without me being inspired by someone’s art. Music is such an integral part of who I am and I often find myself feeling so thankful for the musicians who did and continue to do whatever they need to do so they can express themselves and share their talent. Perseverance is a necessity and believing in yourself and your abilities is paramount to accomplishing your goals.  I’m not talking about success in any traditional sense but simply the enjoyment and fulfillment that often will accompany the act of creating or performing & sharing your talent.

I took this picture recently while traveling through Williamsburg Brooklyn on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.  I try to always have my camera with me and when I’m fortunate enough to capture a scene like this one, I consider it a gift.  I’ve joined it with lyrics written by Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, one of my top five favorite bands. The song is from their 3 volume concept album “69 Love Songs”. It is brilliant. I’ll never forget hearing this album for the first time and how the songs seem to mesh so fittingly with the chapters of my life.  I highly recommend it. Checkout the beautiful  song “All My Little Words”

So fitting that I begin with The Mermaid Parade

I’m so happy to have my blog up and running!  The timing seems perfect; just moved into the new studio, it’s the first day of summer, my wife Cill and I are celebrating our 3rd anniversary today and the first photos I’m posting are from this weekend’s Mermaid Parade in Coney Island.

I honestly don’t know if I’d be where I am today if it weren’t for Coney Island and my love for documenting it.  I’m sure I’ll tell the story behind it sometime but for now, here are some images of things that caught my eye Saturday at Coney Island.

Was I tempted to straighten his shirt out to see the text better?  No….

I have very little interest in photographing the actual parade.  What truly interests me are the individuals when it almost seems as if they’ve forgotten that they are in some sort of costume or outlandish makeup.

This might just be one of my favorite moments of the day. Seems like just another day at the office for the guy behind the counter.

How often does a cup match your makeup?

And then there were bubbles…lots of them.

                                      The pin at the top of the tower is going to pop that big bubble.

           A truly great day.  Thank you Coney Island and thank you to all the amazing people who make this day one of the most interesting things to be part of and photograph every year.