About the photograph: Hampton Beach Temptations


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Temptations at Hampton Beach is a photograph by fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding www.edwardfielding.com taken in the off season when most  of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire is shuttered.

Sometimes I find myself longing to live in a beach boardwalk town.  Not so much in the summer season when its teaming with sunburnt tourists but perhaps in the shoulder seasons when some of the arcades, t-shirt shops and pizza slinging windows are shuttered.

I’ve always had a bit of a romantic nostalgia for these places just on the edge of seedy.  Maybe its the scenes of depression era America and the deep south through the lens of Walker Evans or the out of the way places across the US thought the vision of Robert Frank’s Americans.

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Growing up, my Dad was stationed at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey when I was in middle school and we’d spend some time on the boardwalk in Long Branch – my sister and I getting the shit scared out of us at the Haunted House.

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She’s the one who wanted to go in. I was the one who nearly lost his hearing from the screaming and almost had to have my arm amputated from the grip of my sister pushing me forward through the horrors.

On one of those trips a friend of the family tossed a dime that landed perfectly on an impossibly small dot which was suppose to win the tosser a new 10-speed bike hanging from the rafters. It took about 20 minutes of arguing with the hawker and probably more than a few threats of calling the police or a gang of army buddies to pursued the guy not to fling the dime off the board and actually hand over the winnings.

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Growing up I was into magic and all things strange and mysterious. PT Barnum stuff. Stuff that you’d find in Coney Island or maybe along the boardwalk in Boardwalk Empire.

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There is something intriguing in that realm between natural beauty of the oceanside and the attraction of enterprising hucksters who try so hard to release tourists of their hard earned money.

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Mentioned in this post:

Long Branch – Destroyed in Hurricane Sandy – the Long Branch boardwalk has been rebuilt. The town of Long Branch NJ, is one of the largest cities on the Jersey Shore. From the period of the 1860’s through the First World War, it was also the most glamorous.

Long Branch’s early years as a resort town was a virtual “Who’s Who” of society, including such names as Astor, Fisk, & Drexel – and even more notorious names such as Diamond Jim Brady and Lily Langtree. First Lady Mary Lincoln visited in 1861, but it was in 1869 that Long Branch NJ had it’s first presidential visit by President Grant. The President continued to visit every summer that he was president, and continued for many years after that.

 

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Hampton Beach is a village district, census-designated place, and beach resort within the town of Hampton, in the U.S. state of New Hampshire, located on the Atlantic Ocean. Its population at the 2010 census was 2,275. Hampton Beach is located in Rockingham County, approximately 15 miles (24 km) south of Portsmouth. The community is a popular tourist destination and the busiest beach community in the state. Ocean Boulevard, the main street along the beach, includes a boardwalk, many shops and businesses, several seasonal hotels, and the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom. The Ballroom hosts many national acts throughout the summer months. Hampton Beach State Park was named one of four “Superstar” beaches in the US in 2011, for having had perfect water quality testing results in each of the last three years.

 

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