Seaside Heights: Before & After

Since I was a little girl, I’ve been intrigued with carnivals, state fairs, and boardwalk amusement parks. Their oddities and funk, colorful rides, shifting lights, mixed aromas, diversity of people, and cacophonous sounds of barkers, screamers, and laughter enchant me year after year.

In contrast to brand-driven entertainment, I see these venues as dream landscapes where everyone implicitly rejects a hermetic approach to fun. I try to make pictures that celebrate the spirit of this world, embracing its uninhibited atmosphere, accidental humor, unspoken visual stories, and found beauty.

I’ve been shooting Seaside Heights, NJ since 2007. But after Hurricane Sandy battered the shoreline in late 2012, and then a fire nearly razed the boardwalk a year later, my project took on an additional, unplanned aspect. The flood and flames drastically altered or obliterated sites that held decades of shared experiences, many of which will not ever return.

These images offer a glimpse into the Seaside Heights experience—before and after Sandy.