A photography book project about a 1940's NJ beach resort documented from 2009 through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
It was 1946 when Fred Pearl and his partner Edward Patnaude purchased a tract of land, then desolate and brush-filled, just north of Lavallette NJ. Two laundry deliverymen who over the next 20 years turned this tract into a vacation paradise named Ocean Beach. Their vision was to build affordable beach houses for working-class families. They began by building basic one- and two-bedroom cottages that started at $2,095 and were merely four walls and a roof with no paneling or insulation.
Sales were transacted casually; Pearl worked out of what he called his “mobile” office — which was the trunk of his car. Each business day, he set up a wooden sign along the highway that read, “Houses for Sale.” At that time, all that was required to secure your cottage was a $10 deposit and a handshake. The first sale contract was signed on July 20, 1946.
This project is study of a unique place in the American landscape that appeals to my vernacular taste and sense of style and order. As a photographer I am interested in the cottages still showing signs of a bygone era when wood paneling, vibrant colors, and kitsch decorations were the order of the day. I always felt it was a race against time to visually preserve the cottages. That was based on the rapid pace of cottages being renovated and modernized to attract more potential vacationers on the competitive rental market.
But instead it was nature that pushed me to continue the project after I thought it was completed, due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012. Once access was restored to the barrier island in early 2013 I resumed photographing extensively with a focus on the cottages facing the ocean and hardest hit. Since then 35 of the 39 ocean facing cottage have been demolished. Hundreds more will need to be gutted or demolished due to the damage from standing water when the ocean and bay waters met.
I'm thrilled that Kehrer Verlag, one of the world's premier fine art book publishers has committed to publish my first monograph, Ocean Beach. The book will include photographs made before and after Hurricane Sandy in separate sections with introduction essays by Harvey Benge and Steve Bisson, respectively. The book will offer a rare context of having documented a disaster area extensively before the catastrophic event.
The harsh realities of publishing photography books is that it's the most expensive books to make and the editions are very small, compared to almost any other category of books. Therefore it's common for the artist to raise money, especially for their first monograph. So please come with me on this journey and help make this book a reality!
The funds from this campaign will go towards: production, distribution, and marketing costs of the book. It will also help with costs associated with the Rewards; producing photographic prints of various sizes, photo books, packaging, mailing costs, etc.
Authors: Harvey Benge, Steve Bisson
Artists: Douglas Ljungkvist
Designed by Kehrer Design
30 x 24 cm
available September, 2013
Click here to view all the prints offered at the various reward levels
How to make a pledge for this campaign:
To make a pledge click the green “Back This Project” button on top. You will be asked to enter your pledge amount and select a reward level. Then, you will go through the Amazon checkout process. If/when the project is successfully funded, your credit card will be charged. Thank you SO much for your support! The book is scheduled for September, 2013.
My Ocean Beach project has been exhibited as follows: 2013 Photoville Festival Dumbo, Brooklyn (upcoming solo exhibition and artist talk), 2012 Dumbo Arts Festival, 2012 New York Photo Festival, 2011 Format Festival, 2011 Hereford Festival.
Awards include: Winner 2013 PDN Photo Annual, Winner 2012 New York Photo Festival Invitational, Gold 2011 Px3 Best Fine Art book proposal, several Honorable Mentions including IPA, CENTER, American Photo Magazine
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