Long Beach photographer Bob Shanley has found something unusual this summer at Arts in the Plaza, a program that for the past three years has showcased local artists and musicians at Kennedy Plaza each Saturday.
Shanley’s booth there features Photoshop-enhanced prints of his snapshots of the new boardwalk in Long Beach, one of which shows a pink sun setting on the Brazilian hardwood walkway. But he has yet to sell any of these prints.
Instead, patrons are buying many of his prints of the city battered by Hurricane Sandy, including sections of the collapsed boardwalk and piles of refuse that lined streets outside gutted homes. Shanley estimates that he’s sold as many as 35 prints showing the devastation in Long Beach this summer. What gives?
“People like to tell and show photos of what it was like to go through the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, as an individual, a couple, and a family,” said Shanley, a co-founder of Arts in the Plaza. “I find that people don’t buy the new improvements of the boardwalk and Long Beach because they see it every day. It will be there when they get back.”
In recent weeks, as the one-year anniversary of the Oct. 29 storm approaches, Shanley has sold even more of the post-Sandy photos, of which he has about 20 individual prints in all. Last Saturday alone he sold 10 prints of the garbage-filled home fronts.
“They know the homes,” he said about the people who buy such prints. “They can’t stop talking about the homes.”