I came to this place as a child, a teenager, an adult and an artist. Here the entrance to Plato’s cave is made of papier-mache and smells faintly of urine. Here the itineration of the lost, earnest and faithful, leads only to a palace of folly, their hopeful gazes met by the silence of fog.
These images reflect a time between 1974 and 75, it was a time in limbo for this Town, this nation, and its people. The war in Vietnam had ended in chaos, the draft boards closed, Nixon resigned in disgrace. The economy was in the toilet and the country wasn’t ready to acknowledge the heroes returning from Vietnam. Inflation was 11%, unemployment over 9% and the race riots of 1970 seemed to have left Asbury Park permanently scared. The adrenaline of notoriety that Bruce Springsteen was to deliver to this Jersey Shore town would not arrive for a few more years.
Like a true carnival town, the authentic was always in question. Asbury Park was still trying to project itself as an amusement park, a resort town; but the waters of commerce had leached out and all that remained was the blighted tissue of an arcade facade. The place had become a ghost town, but no one had told the ghosts. They still wandered the streets, worked the arcades, frequented the peep show and drank in the bars. The duality of the place was palpable, an effigy of itself. The circus left town – in a hurry. What remained was a sideshow of a sideshow, and I felt like the only one eating stale popcorn in the bleachers; haunted by the actors that couldn’t make eye contact with one who could not look away. It was never my intention to pass judgments on this place or its inhabitants. I was just as disassociated and disenfranchised as my fellow actors, I was just the ghost with the camera.