Beach Lovers

My best friends tells me that I am hopeless romantic.

I work for an organization called LOVE. I have the word love tattooed on my middle finger.  I study couples regularly, on the subway, in restaurants, walking down the street holding hands, and I often smile to myself, catching a small glimpse into their happiness. I often wonder how they met.

Maybe my friend is right about me.

But there is a lot of cynicism about finding love in NYC. I have read countless articles and listened to many friends lament that it is nearly impossible to meet anyone here. There are so many options, so many beautiful people, why settle for one. 

I’ve never really shared that sentiment. Great love can be found in NYC. What other choice do we have? The city is too big, too harsh, too cold, for its citizens to go through life forever alone, or forever searching.  We all need someone to soften our hard hearts, to partake in those long subway commutes, to share a secret smile with because the world around us is so serious. Whether that love lasts one night, 3 months, 3 years or 30, great love is possible in NYC. 

I have always wanted to capture the love I see around me in my photos. I have watched so many beautiful love stories unfold in my nine years here, and I have struggled to tell the stories successfully. It finally occurred to me that I should do so through my beach photography. I have been shooting the Rockaway Beaches for almost five years now, and I have wanted a new direction for some time.  My new direction is Beach Lovers, and I am very excited about it. In its simplest form, Beach Lovers is the story of lovers at the beach.

Because I am there so often, I spend a lot of time observing beach-goers; their bodies swaying in the waves, splayed out half-asleep on sandy towels, or chasing small children around with more sunscreen. People from all walks of life descend upon the city’s shorelines to enjoy sunny days and salty nights. We are raw and exposed on the beach, stripped of our clothes, our makeup, our status markers. We create nostalgic, sun-soaked memories with our friends and lovers. We leave behind our worries and responsibilities for a few hours, and our most youthful selves shine through. I see people at their happiest in those moments.

When I catch small moments of tenderness between couples at the beach, whether sharing a picnic, some long laughs, or a lazy limb-entwined nap on a beach blanket, I see romance in its purest state. I hope to illustrate that with Beach Lovers, and I look forward to where this journey takes me. Maybe I'll even melt some cynical hearts, even just a bit.



Erica Reade