Coney Island


I grew up in Australia where the ocean runs in our veins. I also have a little gypsy blood in mine. Little wonder I should find myself drawn again and again to Coney Island where the sea and the carnies dance… Photo: @kerrypayne

12 Responses to “Coney Island”


  • Kerry’s photos are magnificent, sensational even; her compositions within the square format are made with a wise, knowing eye. I find no fault with them.

    I thought the concept of BurnDiary was to show a week’s worth of images with a strong personal attachment. These shots look like an essay of how New Yorkers deal with a heat wave using water. Full marks to Kerry to deliver thematic consistency within a time limit, but I prefer the flaneur approach of someone like Cocco, who just walks around his city collecting images just for the hell of it.

  • Jeff, thank you for your kind words about my images. Your feedback is truly appreciated. What you are seeing is how I myself coped with the heat wave these past three days. Water was not an intentional theme but on a 100 degree day in NYC, it was a happy one! Regarding your comments on my composition, it’s something I aim for in every image I make, whether I’m on assignment or simply shooting my life, as I do every day. Sometimes it works, many times not. I will say one thing, using Instagram daily, has, without doubt, made me a better photographer this past year. And, the week is young, stay tuned. ;)

  • Yes, I agree with Jeff. And, having just got onto Instagram for the first time yesterday, I now know why there are not more comments appearing here. People are commenting directly on Instagram. As you suggested, Kerry, I have now commented on both.

    I love the way you play the bright orange of the float against the darkness of the people. I worry about your phone getting ruined by salt water – but, if so, the phone can be replaced, whereas a picture never taken can never be, but once taken can be worth far more than the cost of an iPhone. Yes, I would say this one is.

    If anyone is curious, I put my first Instagram – and second – along with the story of how I wound up doing them, on my blog. I suppose Burn diary was in the background in inspiring me to do it, but the trigger was that I took off without a memory card in my Canon 5D M111, took a picture that evaporated into nothing, so chased it down again and shot it with my iPhone. Then I thought, “well, why don’t I Instagram it?” It turned out to be a boring shot, so I Instagrammed an iPhone shot I had made earlier, then decided to Instagram the boring one anyway.

    The weather here today is normal – pleasantly cool, but so far we have had an extraordinarily hot late-spring and summer. Now you’ve got me thinking that maybe I should shoot a week of Instagram somewhere on the northern rim of Alaska in the deep, dark, cold of winter, when the sun is far away and people are eating whale and caribou, playing traditional games of strength and endurance and dancing Iñupiaq style.

    I don’t know. Just a thought. It would mean leaving my family behind during the holidays. I have done this a few times, but I don’t know if I ever want to leave them behind at Christmas again. Yet, I do want to be there for that special week once again. So maybe. Or maybe I would stay home for Christmas and head up the next day. It might not be burn diary, but it would be neat to try for my blog.

    Just musing out loud here. Sorry.

    http://www.logbookwasilla.com/logbookwasilla/2013/7/16/i-am-forced-to-post-my-first-two-instagrams-grandma-shovels.html

  • Hey Kerry,

    Sorry I haven’t commented on your diary photos, but they really are wonderful.

  • Regarding Jeff Hladun’s comment, I agree that Kerry has done an excellent job with her compositions. But I differ in the perception that the photos don’t show a strong personal attachment (and with they idea that they should, as well, but that’s a different comment). To me they show a very strong attachment, a very romantic attachment, to New York City. And knowing Kerry, at least a little bit, that romantic POV is hardly surprising.

    Of course you’ll find it hardly surprising that I’m not so much the romantic. When I go to Coney Island, for example, I’m much more likely to see an obtrusive police presence on a good day or outright ethnic cleansing on a bad. But I see the romantic aspect as well. It is there. It is very real. And Kerry captures pieces of it without being maudlin, which is a great skill. Kind of makes me think of the opening of Woody Allen’s Manhattan with the Brooklyn Bridge and the fireworks. Love can be a beautiful thing, and even more so when depicted by an accomplished artist.

    Off on a tangent, I find Kerry’s Burn Diary work to be a healthy antidote to the bad feelings I get from the current essay about life in small western U.S. mining towns. That seems to me a case of the photographer imposing a personal vision upon his subjects that has little, if anything, to do with the actual reality. I’m not at all opposed to that sort of thing in most art forms, but when it’s done to real live humans who have no idea that they are being used as metaphors in some rich kid’s art project, I find it a bit nauseating. Hopefully I’m totally misreading it and that’s not the case in that essay. I have several others from publications other than burn on my mind, but it sure has that feel. I’ve been to most of those places and unlike Kerry’s view of Coney Island which however different from mine, I at least recognize; the people in Schutmaat’s towns come off more as projections of someone else’s ideas about life rather than people with real lives of their own who might actually be able to tell us something about life.

    Anyway, I’m finding Kerry’s work refreshing. Today’s supposed to be the hottest yet. Looking forward to seeing how you handle it.

  • Frostfrog, Brian, thank you both for your kind and considered comments. It’s been too long between Burn discussions for us!

    MW, so, you’re onto me, a diehard romantic through and through. I wasn’t just waxing lyrical when I opened this week saying I was excited to share the things I fall in love with this week. I see beauty everywhere and feel so grateful to whatever greater power deemed that should be so. Thank you for your very kind and generous critique of my work so far.

    I’m on the streets of Manhattan and hope I’m blessed again with the sort of scene that gets my heart rate up and causes me to lose track of all time. Those are the best days. I agree with your (for another comment) sentiment that there are many interpretations to a ‘diary’ — and in these very early days of BurnDiary I think we are all feeling our way a little.

    I feel extremely privileged and honored to be given this opportunity and to have followed two great shooters. Of course, being #52 would be nice too, when there are tens of thousands of followers and the average #likes crests 600 per image. Competitive, much? Yes! But remember I am also a businesswoman and likes can be viewed as a KPI (key performance indicator). A yardstick for which images are appealing and which ones either on the vine (like my oh-so-in-love early morning self portrait did yesterday).

    For the Burn readers out there who have not yet dipped a toe into the Instagram pool, I can say with absolute certainty that the discipline of shooting, editing and publishing daily has improved my eye for a picture dramatically. Not to mention how good it is for the heart to do something you love every single day. And that romantic note seems to be a perfect place to finish!

    Off to shoot, wish me luck!

  • Kerry…
    I’m just loving your BurnDiary so keep on Burning. I like your style which is consistent throughout your own Instagram gallery, which is highly inspirational and drenched in your love of life.

  • This burn diary may wipe out the essays and that is not such a bad thing …….. sites need to be dynamic to survive and essays here are too introspective in nature

  • Yeah the same thought went through my mind as Imants. ..
    All we need now is the good old black background on Burn

  • Paul my view is that a lot of photographers especially the newer aspirants hit the panic button and thought that essays and portfolios were the only way to go thus falling short in their image making. The burn diary could be a ideal way of getting some of the spirit back. People like Kerry and David are good role models here though I am not sure about David’s food shots
    The instagram type of thing and the public have shown the way that it is about “doing” and taking photos. Mind you taking photos is more interesting than looking at them. I am sure that goes for most people these days and the digital process is pretty ideal for this type of activity.

    Me personally I have never been a good photographer probably because I am too lazy in taking photos all is a bit off hand without too much thought, I have a feeling that the instagram approach won’t save me.
    I sorta like to concentrate on putting stuff together in terms on signs, symbols, concepts text,imagery sheer bullshit etc that’s why books are pretty ideal for me and the net just doesn’t do it.

  • Imants…

    I remember you once shared with us some friends/family Christmas reunion photos which were beautiful. Also your Indonesia kids street portraits were really straight up and honest, it was so obvious it was more about meeting the them than about photography.

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