LONG BEACH ISLAND'S COLORFUL HISTORY — AS YOU'VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE
In this uniquely different look at Long Beach Island’s past, historic black and white photographs, meticulously hand-colored,
are paired with descriptive historical vignettes. We see anew the colorful characters, history, rich stories, and lost landmarks of a vibrant Shore community. New life is breathed into the moments and lives of the Island’s past and we enter a colorful world long gone.

•A completely different look at LBI’s history. Black & white images come alive in 145 meticulously restored, hand-colored photographs.

•Brief historical descriptions, quotations, and short excerpts give the images context. It’s vibrant local history in an inviting gallery format.

•From lighthouses to the old hotels, fishermen, great storms, beaches, boating, frivolous summer fun, and — most of all — the people who have lived on and visited the Island, this is a curated gallery of historic, artistic prints in enchanting book form.

Local Color

Long Beach Island's
Photographic History
Reimagined

Color • Leslee Ganss
Words • Ray Fisk

9.25’’ x 8.25’’ hardcover,
288 pages, 145 hand-colored images,
bibliography, index.
Library of Congress Control No. 2021940941
ISBN 978-1-59322-124-9
$36.00
Available late July 2021

“In selecting the images for hand-coloring, we were constantly drawn to scenes that revealed daily activities without pretense — the seashore jobs and working life, the silly and frivolous, the summer fun. Landmarks like lighthouses and the old hotels are here, along with vanished wetlands, wild beaches, and the aftermath of coastal storms.

“We wanted to find a way of presenting our history with new vibrance, one that still gives a soulful and honest sense of place. We wanted to do this with an integrity that respects the original image and respects the people captured in
the image — to show the humanity of
this place.”

— from the Introduction

Sample double page folio from the book
INTRODUCTION

A picture is worth a thousand words, the old adage goes.

But what happens when photographs are so commonplace that they lose their meaning and their value is just another click? What happens when images become background noise? In this age when we’re drowning in images and media, and apps can make every cellphone photo appear interesting, how do we find authenticity?

As a publisher who has worked with historic images for nearly four decades, that’s the challenge we’re trying to meet with this book. The Long Beach Island photographs published here reveal lives and moments from a world that no longer exists. How do we transport ourselves back into those lives and moments? How do we get to a place where we can actually feel that world?

In our earlier books about Island history, old pictures were only starting to emerge in public from yellowing albums and dusty attics; they hadn’t been widely shared beyond family and neighbors. Readers would pore over those pages, absorbing stories and imagining — through never-before-seen photos — a younger Island.

The digital world has altered our perceptions about images. We’re a bit jaded. We see a steady stream of photos — online, in messages, Facebook groups, Instagram, and other social media. All too frequently they’re presented without context — without the story that could enlighten us. At times inaccurate history is attached to old photos. Historic images are also employed to persuade, to sell, to convince us that a business or product has deep roots and is connected to our shared past. Sadly, the visual content becomes devalued.

We wanted to break free of that; to find a way to present our history with new vibrance, yet still give a soulful and honest sense of place. To make it easily discovered despite our limited attention. To breathe new life into historic photos even if we’ve seen them elsewhere. We wanted to do this with an integrity that respects the original image and respects the people captured in that image — to show the humanity of this place.

In Local Color, carefully selected historic photographs have been hand-colored; we present them with brief descriptions, short excerpts or quotes distilled from decades of publishing local history. The authors of these passages and those they quote give context and hopefully enhance the feeling evoked by the photograph.

The photographs and words are presented as if in a gallery, so readers can linger on a scene, one at a time. The chronology is roughly by decade, somewhat overlapping, encompassing a little over a century from the late 1870s to the early 1980s.

This was an era of black and white film, and the original photographs in this book were all made on film or glass plates. We’ve added color — by hand, mostly on a computer — making very human and deliberate decisions about every detail. Decisions about elements like color, shading or hue are based on experiences living here, immersed in the Shore and its history. It’s an honest and informed hand-coloring, not performed by an algorithm or app, a process that took place over several years.

In selecting the images, we were constantly drawn to scenes that revealed daily activities without pretense — the seashore jobs and working life, the silly and frivolous, the summer fun. Landmarks like lighthouses and the old hotels are here, along with vanished wetlands, wild beaches, and the aftermath of coastal storms. The images are mostly casual, everyday photographs, the kind you find in family albums. We’ve included many of the earliest photographs used to promote the new Island communities, some by Robert F. Engle, a professional trained at the turn of the last century who was son of the founder of the Engleside Hotel. Others, from mid-century, are by the prolific Bill Kane, who sold them at his shop, the Nor’easter in Beach Haven Terrace. The photographers are no longer with us, but we’re fortunate to have their work, a monochrome legacy that documents Long Beach Island’s past.

It was a delight to work with the original prints and find handwritten notes in pencil or old quill ink, often on the back. These clues allowed us to discern a more accurate story from the image. We looked for a date, or names, a location, a memory or description — anything that might add to an understanding of the world and the aura of that time.

Many photographs included have appeared, black and white, in our other titles. Those books are referenced in each credit so readers can refer to them for a fuller history. In many cases, there may be an entire chapter about the subject, such as rumrunning, the railroad, or pound fishing. Because different books have different or additional historical details, at times we’ve paired a photograph from one title with a short excerpt or quote from another.

The timeframe here — when most photographs were black and white, when photography was not easy and commonplace — is also a time when individual photographs were treasured. It’s an era that aligns with the founding of Beach Haven as a summer resort and a century of growth and change on Long Beach Island.
We hope you can appreciate these photographs as if they were just found in one of those yellowing albums in a dusty attic, with new life animating them and your connection to Long Beach Island full.

— Ray Fisk

P.O. Box 100, West Creek, New Jersey 08092
e-mail downshore@gmail.com
phone (609) 812-5076 • fax (609) 812-5098
Copyright © 2021 Down The Shore Publishing Corp. The words "Down The Shore" and logo are a registered U.S. Trademark.