On a Saturday in May of 1994 I met my ICP photo class and teacher, Harvey Stein at a Coney Island coffeeshop for a day of shooting. Spontaneously, we photographed each other like a group hug then disbursed, but somehow I never saw anyone from the class again that day. Alone with Pentax in hand, I set my aperture and forced my shy self to connect with strangers all day.

I became interested in photographing Coney Island after visiting in the over-crowded summertime, but this felt different.  On the long subway ride home to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I felt like I had found a narrative, but for whatever reason in perusing the contact sheets, I wound up sharing only an obtuse still life print for class.

These pictures lingered for years but I never forgot them or that day.

To my eyes now, these portraits convey verve while some define abandonment. I wonder why I didn’t see it then.