not for the public
Marcia Grostein Brighton Beach Bliss: The World as we see
Grostein’s Brighton Beach Bliss beachgoer portraits are a testament of harmonious coexistence between diverse populations. This body of works is influenced by Martinique-born philosopher Édouard Glissant’s theory of “archipelagic thought,” which celebrates the world’s diversity and Glissant’s concept of Utopia as a place where all the world’s imaginations can meet and hear one another out without dispersing or loosing themselves.
Comprised of intimate yet unabashed beachgoer portraits, the series reveals a rare intermingling of races, religions, relationships, and body types that characterizes the ocean-side community of Brighton Beach.
Ethiopian Jewish woman
Ethiopian jews celebrating shabbat
The unique history of Brighton Beach paved the way for the diversity that Grostein documents within her photographs.
In the mid-1970s, the neighborhood became a popular place for Soviet immigrants to settle, particularly for Russian and Ukrainian Jews.
Since the 1990s, however, the ethnic demographics of Brighton Beach have begun shifting rapidly.
The area, while still home to many Jewish residents, has also become a nexus for Hispanic and Central Asian Muslim immigrants, among others.
Today, roughly seventy-five percent of Brighton Beach’s inhabitants were born in countries other than the United States.
about me and her
the boss and her army
Grostein’s raw shots
Taken over the course of 7 years – offer viewers a glimpse of these multigenerational migrations, which have merged into a single, uniquely globalized locale. While the beach-goers are immersed in their own activities, they also partake in the broader activity of community-building, simply by way of their proximity to one another.
Vignettes – characterized by mutual respect between the photographer and protagonists – depict interactions that are harmonious, warm, or meditative, with all inhabitants seeking a distinct form of rejuvenation by the sea shore. Adolescents make memories that will last well into adulthood and the aging carry on with habits formed over a lifetime.
While the individual photos stand as strong images of interpersonal respect and self-care, the series as a whole conflates distinct fields of anthropological investigation – asking us to consider how diverse biologies, cultures, and linguistics can together enact a unified present.
"Trembling’ thought—and in my opinion every utopia passes through this kind of thought—is first of all the instinctive feeling that we must reject all categories of fixed thought and all categories of imperial thought." - Édouard Glissant
this amazingly diverse microcosm with an air of pride and hope. Through her careful documentation of these heartening realities, it is suggested that all inclusive environments have the potential for worldwide replication.
$$$ don't hear, don't see, don't speak
In the Brighton Beach Bliss series
perfection is not defined by a single perfectly proportioned body; rather, Grostein asks us to find beauty that can be found in the human gaze, and in a mutual desire to act together within natural and built environments. The inhabitants of Brighton Beach demonstrate what it means to slough social, political, and cultural stigmas in favor of respect and understanding.