What a blast, photographing at the beach! Doesn’t matter what time of day it is, there is always something
interesting to see. Compared to the forced hibernation of a New England winter, when we see each other
wrapped in layers of warmth, we traipse around having removed all the layers to feel the sun on our skin and
informality oozes into our manners and behavior. With sand between our toes, we live large in good weather,
participants in a common fantasy that the season will last forever.
There are oodles of little dramas that play out all over the sand, from a kid digging a hole and toting buckets
of water to fill it, to animated cell phone conversations with invisible third parties, to large groups of people
sitting in a circle sharing leftovers which each one wears, as the dribbles and crumbs fall onto bare skin. The
dramas are of interest because they are so familiar and because they tell us a lot about ourselves. They are
also ordinary, unremarkable in any way, and understandable for their regularity. Watching them unfold is like
rummaging around in a community memory bank.
I have photographed on beaches since 1993, documenting the inadvertent theater and unwitting humor that
materialize on the sand. These things matter to me because I know that the way we inhabit our beaches reveals
a lot about our idiosyncrasies, habits and in due course, our nature. The contradictions inherent in our behavior
are funny, sometimes appalling and often, reassuring, again for their familiarity. I share it with you in good humor,
with delight and great affection.
The photographs for this series were made at the town beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island.