While living on the cost of New Jersey, Geoffrey Agrons began making pictures of the shoreline near his home. Rather than focusing on conventional postcard-ready imagery of these resort towns, he chose to create images of the unglamorous pilings, emptiness, and decay that are often overlooked.
"I found I had a deep emotional investment in the peculiar seasonal pulse of a resort town, the passing time marked by the predictable influx of summer tourists and their retreat in winter. The collective assumption of timelessness and renewal struck me as poignant, and perhaps a bit absurd."
After the Money's Gone
Agrons’ series, Hazardous Shorelines, evolved from these observations, becoming a haunting commentary on man’s relationship with nature as well as society. The stillness in these images underscores the fragility of an unpopulated town and evokes the “emotional vocabulary of dreams: longing and apprehension, the need to linger and observe, the urge to flee.” It also emphasizes the transient nature of life. “In time I came to realize that my work in general was informed by evanescence, transformation, and loss.” The new growth of trees mimics the decaying man-made structures in stature, reminding the viewer of summer, when the tourists return and bring life to the shore as winter fades.
To heighten the ethereal quality of these settings, Agrons photographs with long exposures at times of the day when the light is most extreme, occasionally employing neutral density filters to create slightly surreal imagery that integrates his memories and experiences. He returns to the same locations during various seasons and tides. This repetition allows for a more complete representation of his emotional response to “the material in the field.”
Player Piano III
In her description of Hazardous Shorelines, Vicki Goldberg commented that Agrons’ decaying piers “resemble Japanese gates and hold up nothing, merely producing tremulous reflections in water, as if a brush had wavered on wet paper.” While not produced with a brush, Agrons’ images are printed with pigment ink on beautifully textured handmade Japanese paper.
Though he does not foresee himself embracing the burgeoning online art world any time soon, Agrons is pleased with his work and the direction that his career is taking. “I find it deeply satisfying to have the opportunity to exhibit framed prints in the company of other photographers I admire.” We are excited to present his work, beautifully printed and framed, next to the other wonderful photographers in this year’s Portfolio Showcase.
House of Games
Hazardous Shorelines is part of the second annual Portfolio Showcase, on view through
July 27, 2013.