Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Under the Boardwalk: Lincoln by Richard Rothstein

'Coney Island is one of the places where a naked man is just one of the community’s many oddities and entertainments …nothing special.'

Where I grew up, there wasn't a Coney Island, or a permanent Carnival or park situated near by. The closest thing was the Autumn fair. Once a year, our Exhibition grounds were taken over by traveling carnival rides and games, concession stands, loud music and the smell of cotton candy and stale popcorn. It was also the time when prized farm animals shared the stage with touring soap opera stars and washed up music acts.

I loved the carnival, especially at night. The lights, the sounds and smells and especially the vibrate energy. I look forward to i each year and usually began bugging my parents about it when the first posters when up in August. I was never really a big fan of the rides, nor the food or games, it was the sights and feel of walking through the fair ground that excited me. It seemed our whole community was there and that the grounds were the core, the pulse of the city, at least when the fair was in town. Those carnival grounds allowed me to feel alive, to fee apart of something I didn't feel the rest of the year.

The thing about carnivals and circus's though, is the real beauty is often found in the shadows. They want us to focus on the surface, the lights, the glitter, the rides. Whenever I walk through a circus or fair however, my eyes are on the faces on the carnival's workers, the young couple making out behind a tent, the boss telling off a new employee, the performers in the wings, not quite made up and ready for their performances. The real show is in the shadows, in the alley's, behind the rides and under the boardwalk.

'I did not have a happy childhood, but throughout my childhood three places brought me endless joy: the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Three- Ring Circus Side Show (the actual circus, not so much) at Madison Square Garden, the MSG Wild West Show and Rodeo and Coney Island. Unlike the circus and the rodeo which only came once or twice a year, Coney Island was forever present.'

'Coney Island is easily my favorite location for shooting nudes. As a child growing up the city, Coney Island was my favorite place. It’s kind of in my DNA, likely my parents and grandparents were taking me there before I was even old enough to eat Nathan’s franks! It’s a place of wonderful childhood memories: hot dogs, french fries, corn on the cob, cotton candy, the freak show, the Wonder Wheel, the fishing pier, sand castles on the beach…oh…and did I mention the lifeguards? By the age of 5 I was well aware of the wonderfulness of shirtless, sweaty men.'

'I would sit on the beach pretending to play with my shovel and pail, mostly gazing at the young men poised on their elevated stations. For me, shooting nudes in New York City is one of the ways I celebrate an end to the closet and living out loud, very loud in my hometown. Lincoln delivers on this fantasy and this celebration in a very special way. He captures my moods and my desires. He understands the sensuality and eroticism of the surf, the sand, the pounding waves and the steamy mystery of the world under the pier. Lincoln delivers the mystery man on the early morning beach that I dreamt of as a little boy while my father was focused on surf casting.'

Lincoln certainly does deliver, and this series is certainly at the top of my list of favorites shoots that Richard has shared. Lincoln is incredibly sexy for sure, but his appeal goes on beyond the surface. Yes, there is the mystery element Richard mentioned, but Lincoln also looks so at home in his environment, so natural and totally at ease, not a hint that he is anything but connected to his surroundings.

The series Richard sent on included addition shots of Lincoln on the beach and on the boardwalk, (on page 2 HERE:) but I was especially drawn to the shots of Lincoln under the boardwalk, totally exposed, yet slightly hidden, in the shadows just below the surface. Being below the surface, the darkness and mist added to the level of mystery and isolation. It also increased the degree of eroticism, especially with Richard's the of Lincoln removing, and then squeezing back on, his heavy wet jeans.

~Check out Part 2 of the series on page 2 HERE:~

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