Joan, Orchard Beach, 2010.
Long stigmatized as a “ghetto” beach, Orchard Beach is a mile long sliver of constructed landscape situated in the North-eastern Bronx with a history as complex as the borough itself. Built in the 1930’s, “The Bronx Riviera” has served as a workingman’s oasis for generations of families living in an environment defined by struggle. I feel a personal connection to this struggle and work to show the strength and dignity of the many wonderful souls who have allowed me the time to tell this story.
My four-year journey has been a meditation of sorts. Amidst the activities on the beach, I walk in silence constantly searching for connections that reveal emotions hidden beneath the surface of this eroded terrain. I rely on my instincts and find that I am drawn to rituals of youth, love, familial bonds, and cultural pride. Whenever I step onto the sandy landscape, I know that I am witnessing history being made and I approach my subjects as though the most important thing at that moment is that we are present.