About - AJ Bernstein

Sunrise Swim, Coney Island

Raised in Sheepshead Bay long before Brooklyn was hip, I made my escape -- college in Boston, then off to pursue the life of a freelance photographer, first in Manhattan and then in Los Angeles. I shot environmental portraits for national and international magazines and corporations, including Money, Forbes, NY Times Magazine, People, Sport Diver, IBM, Philip Morris and many more. But wanderlust won out, and with credit cards, cameras and scuba gear in tow I travelled the world alone, writing and shooting quirky adventure stories. On my favorite journey I dove wrecked Japanese WW II Maru ships, 200 feet down off the coast of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea; a volcano erupted after I was there and buried them all. Back in the states, I migrated to Venice Beach, CA. I learned freediving to follow blue water hunters off the coast of Baja, Mexico, but could never settle down.


Then I took a long, unintended hiatus from my cameras.


A few years ago, forces brought me back to Brooklyn. I rediscovered Coney Island, the happy place of childhood, of riding the Cyclone, hot dogs and frog’s legs at Nathans, the freak show on the boardwalk. What began as casual iPhone photos turned into a winter with the Polar Bears, spring shooting the Mermaid Parade, and summer with the last of the genuine eccentrics in Coney Island’s strange confluence of urban life and the sea.

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