World adventurer AJ Bernstein captures the excitement of this summer’s Mermaid Parade in all its exhibitionist glory.
-As AJ herself says:
“At Burning Man, Left Coast artists get to suffer in the sand, co-opted by the 1%; in Coney Island, the Mermaid Parade celebrates the spirit of pure creative joy.”
For more about AJ’s work, please visit her Facebook page:
And read her amazing bio below the photographs.
AJ tells her story:
“Raised in Sheepshead Bay, long before Brooklyn was hip, I planned my escape—college in Boston, then off to pursue the life of a freelance photographer, first in Manhattan and then in Los Angeles. With a talent for environmental portraits, I freelanced for national and international magazines and corporations, including Money, Forbes, NY Times Magazine, People, Sport Diver, IBM, Philip Morris and many more. But wanderlust finally won out, and with credit cards, cameras, and scuba gear in tow I traveled the world alone, writing and shooting quirky adventure stories. My favorite journey was diving to eerie, wrecked Japanese WW II ships, 200 feet down off the coast of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea; a volcano erupted after I was there and buried them all. Back in the states, I migrated to Venice Beach, CA, and learned freediving to follow blue water hunters off the coast of Baja, Mexico.
Then I took a long, unintended hiatus from my cameras.
A few years ago, forces drew me back to Brooklyn. I rediscovered Coney Island, the happy place of childhood, of riding the Cyclone, sharing hot dogs and frog’s legs at Nathans, walking off teenage angst on the boardwalk. What began as casual iPhone photos on the beach turned into a renewed passion for shooting, and I spent the winter capturing the Polar Bears on land and sea (see my photo montage on display at Tom’s on the boardwalk), and all the genuine eccentrics in Coney island’s unique confluence of urban life and the sea. What kept me away so long? It’s great to be home in a place where I am not the wildest person in the room.”