The Island

Suddenly, as rare things will, it vanished"

— Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Plum Island, Massachusetts is a place defined by the two different groups who inhabit it. One is a fleeting population of summer visitors who view the island as a place of recreation and leisure. The others are permanent residents who rely on the land and its tourists for their livelihood. Competing ideas of the island’s purpose create an emotional and physical tension between the year-round and seasonal residents. A silent struggle wages each summer as the seasonal inhabitants flood in and two very different social worlds overlap. Traces of each remain, forming a physical hybrid of two island identities.

Plum Island also faces gradual ecological destruction. Erosion causes each tide to repossess a piece of the land, and in an estimated 25 years, the small island will exist only beneath the sea. Pollution and neglect accelerate the erosion, but efforts to save the island are funded and justified by its historical significance as a vacation destination.

Islanders both despise and crave the bustling fervor of the summer months. My images document the slow of activity and the sense of obsolescence that plagues the social and architectural landscape. I photograph what and who remains in this small fishing community and how they both alter and accommodate this landscape.