The Bronx Riviera.
Photographs by Wayne Lawrence.
Prestel, Lakewood, 2013. 160 pp., 95 color illustrations, 9½x11¾".
Orchard Beach might not be the most elegant place to sunbathe, but if you live in the Bronx, it's the closest place to swim, relax on the sand, and escape the city's oppressive summer heat. Drawn to the public beach for its less-than glamorous reputation, photographer Wayne Lawrence felt a connection to the community as soon as he began snapping pictures. His glamorous portraits of proud men and women, loving couples, and families at play challenge stereotypes associated with working-class people by focusing on universal themes such as the ties that bind and cultural pride. Whether Anglo, African American, or Latino; statuesque or stout; young or old, each individual is treated with dignity and sensitivity. Lawrence's subjects are a community standing in defiance of popular opinion, proud to call Orchard Beach their own.