Coney Island 2007
Photographs © by Mike Peters
For me, Coney Island in 2007 was an easy choice, in what was reportedly the final year of Astroland before being demolished to make way for something a bit more homogenized. Rubbing elbows with the hoi polloi of Coney Island is preferable to being in the presence of the hoity-toity of any other place.
I was well aware of the images created by the many photographers that preceded me to Coney Island over the past 100 years. I felt confident that I would simply work as usual and make myself ready to receive the images that presented themselves to me. In my days of shooting, I met many other photographers working this same small patch of ground. In the end we all put our own signature on what we do and make different images that will appeal to different people.
What you read into the images I present is based on who you are, where you came from, and the sum of every experience you have ever had up to the moment of viewing the image. What you bring to the experience matters a great deal.
As an observer of the scene, I can only photograph what I see. Expressions, body language, sartorial presentation, and a relationship to foreground and background are the raw materials that I have to work with. In the moment of pressing the shutter, I don't have time to judge or think, only to react to the geometry of the frame and the feelings that compel me to make the exposure.
Every image I make is a subjective impression of what I see. I choose a subject that I respond to on basic emotional level, and in the end by the choices I make at the moment of exposure and through the process of scanning, I’m really saying more about myself than I am about who I am photographing. I do not pretend that any of my images give any insight into the people or places that I photograph. There is always more going on than anyone can ever realize.