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Check out 20 years of Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade in photos

Written by
Howard Halle

Since 1996, New York photographer Luke Ratray has been heading down to Coney Island to shoot the annual Mermaid Parade—a start-of-the-summer tradition since the first one marched into history in 1983. Unlike a lot of shutterbugs who tend go for the panoramic scope of the festivities, Ratray focuses mainly on individual revelers, creating a intimate document though a series of portraits, each of which tells its own story. Ratray also uses black-and-white film instead of digital, which burnishes his images with a timeless patina. In honor of this year’s parade, the Urban Folk Art® Gallery at 101 Smith Street in Downtown Brooklyn is presenting Ratray’s photos in their first public exhibition. “Coney Island Mermaids, 1996-2016” will be on view June 24–July 22. For a preview, take a look at our gallery below: 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Coney Island Mermaid Parade

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