Through Sun and Fog

Diana Cheren Nygren

2014 - Ongoing

Through Sun and Fog is an ongoing project of photographs of beaches in Truro, Massachusetts, a remote community on the outer reaches of Cape Cod. It is a summer destination, but tends to be sparsely populated, even in the high season. I have spent a week here every summer on and off since I was a young girl. I have since travelled and photographed many beaches, but Truro remains special. There is a quiet melancholy to the beaches on the Outer Cape that is beloved to those who have grown up on them.

A number of photographers have established careers on bodies of images of beaches. These photographers are pretty much all male; Richard Misrach, Harry Callahan, Massimo Vitali, and Martin Parr, to name some of the most prominent. In the broadest terms, beaches are a locus for exposure, for intimacy, for leisure, and for connecting with nature. As such, they offer an opportune context for considering possible differences between the male and female gazes.

Richard Misrach has said of his beach photographs, shot from the balconies of a highrise hotel in Hawaii, "I always thought about it as being a god's-eye view, looking down and seeing these amazing human interactions." Whether taken close up or at a distance, I feel an intimate connection to the people and places I photograph at the beach. In this intimacy, my beach photographs, and those taken on Cape Cod above all, spring from an overwhelming sense of the beauty to be found in the banal. The beauty in the imperfect human body, in solitude as well as togetherness, in melancholy, in the storm. . I relate to a statement Massimo Vitali made of his work, saying, “My photography comes from absolute matter-of-fact situations but also from a deep curiosity that I possess for people, for what they do and how they think.”

There is at the core of all three of these perspectives a shared curiousity about how human beings relate to each other and, I would argue, the natural world around them, when they don't think anyone else is looking. The result is something that passes for real, rather than the performative nature of so much of contemporary life. And something unstructured and happenstance, at the edges of man's careful construction of the world around us.

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  • The Wave

  • Surprise

  • Exercise

  • Expecting

  • Family Meeting

  • Black Boogie Board

  • Uncomfortable

  • Blue Chair

  • Bird Landing

  • In Sync

  • The Race

  • White Boat

  • Brown Day

  • Apart

  • Sand

  • Storm Coming

  • In The Rain

  • Washed Ashore

  • No Vehicles

  • Quiet