Coney Island: The Freak's Domain


November 25th, 2008 -

Up until this summer on the Coney Island boardwalk, you could shoot the freak. Some people aimed for the face. One father shot his freak son. The freak's domain was an abandoned lot filled with trash and thousands of decaying paintballs turning into mud. The freak's frontyard concealed an entrance to the strange world under the boardwalk, with long forgotten hamburger signs, picnic tables and strange lairs. Hidden in the freak's backyard was a concrete porch looking out on a vast empty plain that was once Coney Island's Go-Kart track, batting cage and mini-golf course. Beyond this empty lot lies the Wonder Wheel, which is now surrounded by the demolition of Astroland. The home of the freak, like the gritty spirit of modern Coney Island, may be gone by next summer, replaced by the promise of luxury condominiums.

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Update: In December 2010, Shoot The Freak was demolished by its landlord. “They came like thieves in the night,” the booth's owner told The Brooklyn Paper. “Those little sneaks emptied out the place and there is nothing left.” For other photo essays from abandoned Coney Island, visit Coney Island Creek (2007), Under The Boardwalk (2009) and Abandoned Playland (2011).

In the Freak's Lot



Freak



Freak's Friend



Live Human Targets



Freak's Backyard: The World



Freak's Frontyard: Under the Boardwalk



Under the Boardwalk



Forgotten Franks



Front Gate

8 comments:

  1. man I generally think your shots are toooo dark, but these are amazing.

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  2. Too dark? Interesting. Do you mean the subject matter is too heavy for you or the exposure is too low?

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  3. for me, the exposure is a bit low.

    what f-stop are you using with what kind of lens? are you using fixed or telephoto?

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  4. Interesting. I purposefully keep the exposure low on some of my photos, especially those that are taken in darker places. However, when I look at the last few photo series that I've posted, I don't see any shots I would consider "too dark" or underexposed. Have you checked the settings on your monitor?

    Perhaps the last photo in this Coney Island series is one that could be considered "too dark" for some people's taste, however, it is meant to be a murky, dark shot that doesn't reveal all the details.

    Anyhow, I change the f-stop to suit each photo and I shoot with a telephoto lens.

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  5. These pictures are really amazing and also very scary.

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  6. The pictures are quite dramatic when its kinda dark. I love your shots and the angles are amazing. Great stuff!

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  7. Weirdly beautiful and scary as hell...an underworld hiding in plain sight. Awesome work!!!

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  8. DEAR NATHAN KENSINGER


    EXACTALY WHERE AND WHEN DID YOU TAKE THAT SHARK PHOTO BECAUSE THATS MY AUNTS SHARK AND ITS BEEN MISSING FROM HER STORE FOR WEEKS AND I WOULD LIKE TO GET IT BACK FOR HER.
    PLEASE LET ME KNOW EXACTALY WHERE THE SHARK IS.
    -THANKS

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