Behind the Lens: Treasure Hunting on Coney Island with Brian Adams

Behind the Lens: Treasure Hunting on Coney Island with Brian Adams

Each week we’ll feature one photographer from the PhotoShelter community, and share his or her story behind the shots that caught our eye.

  • Photographer: Brian Adams
  • Specialty: Environmental Portraiture
  • Current Location: Anchorage, Alaska
  • Clients: Getty Images, United Way, State Farm Insurance  
  • PhotoShelter Website:
The Shots:

Photo by Brian Adams

Photo by Brian Adams

Photo by Brian Adams

The Story:

In the winter of 2010, Brian decided to begin documenting New York’s Coney Island before the Italian amusement designer Zamperla became the famed Island’s new landlord. “My wife and I headed down every Sunday, just to document a Coney Island that may or may not exist in years to come.” Brian talks about the Island with a sense of nostalgia that’s drawn photographers to the location for generations. “It’s the last stop,” he says. “The waking place should you fall asleep on the F train. A boardwalk of honky-tonk and kitsch, Coney Island has been an iconic destination in New York City for the past century.”

With his Hasselblad 500CM and Kodak Portra 400 film, Brian captured these winter scenes on the beach. He describes his photographs as “largely quiet ones; treasure hunters on deserted beaches, remains from last night’s party. These images capture how it feels to stand on the island in the winter – at the edge of a large metropolis, alone, looking out to sea.”

Currently, Brian and his wife are living in Anchorage, Alaska with their newborn son, Elliott. Brian is working on his first full-length book of photographs, an exploration of identity in Alaska. It is scheduled to be released in September 2013 through University of Alaska Press.

What caught our eye:

Brian’s images depict a very different Coney Island than the one we are use to seeing. Unlike the generally chaotic and energized summer shots of those on the boardwalk, Brian’s exploration in the dead of winter allowed him to come back with a unique view of Coney Island at a turning point in its history.

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