When I was living in Manhattan, I decided to get up extra early one Spring morning and take the F-train to Coney Island so that I could capture the sleeping carnival rides at sunrise and do some experiments with off camera flash. It was all pretty boring since the rides were trapped behind padlocked gates and fences, until I came across this group of teens gearing up to play a casual game of volleyball on the beach.
I hate the feeling of invading others' space, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to photograph the pure, wholesome friendship and joy radiating from these kids. So I asked them if they might help me with some of my experiments, and they did—willingly and playfully. It was the morning after their prom night and here they were, building sand castles and playing on the jungle gym. What better metaphor for the space they were in, midway between the carefree innocence of childhood and the looming responsibilities of future life choices and adulthood.
Whenever I see these I images I am reminded that the truth of the world is not fully represented by the images that bombard us every day of jealousy, anger, entitlement, resentment, vengeance, despair, and sorrow. There is also quite a lot of beauty and joy and compassion and friendship and love and innocence — we just have to be willing to let down our guard to see it and seize it.