If you have been to Fire Island over the past year, then you have probably spotted Gay Fire Island, the bright pink photo book by Basque-American photographer Koitz, published last summer. If you want to see more of Koitz's work, you can check out his new solo show, Gay Fire Island, running July 17–18 at the historic Cherry Grove Community House and Theater out on Fire Island. The show, curated by Parker Sargent, gathers 14 of Koitz’s photographs taken between 2011 and 2020. All proceeds from the exhibit will benefit the Arts Project of Cherry Grove.
“What is wonderful about this collection is that it features the celebration and community of Fire Island and reflects a time of joy and togetherness that we are all ready to recreate in our worlds once again," Sargent said in a statement.
“Capturing gay life in a normal light is very important to me. I don’t want the viewer to think of my subjects—or myself—as freaks or oddities, but simply as people living their own lives in their own world, according to their own wishes,” Koitz told NewNowNext in 2020. “Many of these people have a unique form of expression that deserves recognition and promotion and, in a way, my idea is always to take this extraordinary spectacle and somehow convert it into something like reverence. For this reason above all, my photographs of Fire Island are almost always 'happy,' colorful, and full of life.”
“Even though I select whom and where to shoot, for me it is also extremely important to photograph with complete honesty. When I shoot on Fire Island, I choose not to photograph scenes that show the sadness or examples of failure I might see around me,” Koitz added. “It is important to me that I never photograph a person in an undignified or disrespectful way, even when those opportunities show up. I don’t, or at least try not to manipulate any situation. I want people to look their best, and to be at their best. I like to celebrate them.”
Check out some photos from the Gay Fire Island exhibit below, and head on over to Cherry Grove Community House and Theater on July 17–18 to see the full show.