Portrait photography has the ability to be the most poignant artistic medium you’ll ever come across. There may be nothing more intimate than taking a photograph of someone’s face, their home, their child, or their community, stripped of pretense and captured only to reveal the purest essence of one’s relationship to the world around them. Anyone can take a photograph of anything they see, but it takes a true artist to capture a moment of stillness that has the power to evoke emotion, to tell a story.

Wayne Lawrence

Wayne Lawrence is a documentary fine art photographer based in Brooklyn.
Image: Shutterstock

Photographer Wayne Lawrence is one of these artists. His photography presents striking perspectives from a diverse collection of human experiences. A documentary fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, Lawrence explains that his “work represents a visual diary of his life’s journey and focuses on his relationship to communities otherwise overlooked by mainstream media.” One of the communities that Lawrence has recently focused his attention on is the Orchard Beach area of the Bronx in New York City, known by many as the Bronx Riviera.

In a collection entitled, “Orchard Beach: The Bronx Riviera” the artist captures portraits of Bronx residents at the beach with loved ones, family, friends, and sometimes alone. The portraits offer a startlingly profound glimpse into the different lives that make up one community; they are relatable, extremely striking, and beautiful representations of a spirit that inhabits this part of New York City during the summertime.

An article in the Huffington Post describes Orchard Beach as “a half moon-shaped segment of the borough’s Pelham Bay Park [that] looks out onto the busy Long Island Sound. Its patrons usually come from the various neighborhoods of the Bronx, creating a seasonal community of New Yorkers who take great pride in their colorful watering hole. From college students to retirees, parents and children to young professionals, the stretch of sand is a working class paradise hidden at the tip of NYC.” Though appearing nothing like the French Riviera from which its moniker was born, the Bronx Riviera is equally beloved by locals who bring their distinct life experiences to the beach, something which Lawrence captured wonderfully.

“Orchard Beach: The Bronx Riviera” will be exhibited at the Bronx Museum starting this October 13th, 2013. To see the full collection anytime, visit Wayne Lawrence’s online portfolio.