New Book Enlivens Vintage Photographs of Jersey Shore

Local Color introduces hand-colored versions of originally black-and-white pictures, taken on Long Beach Island from the 1870s through the 1980s.

Each black-and-white photo in Local Color, including this 1890 image of a fishing boat, was hand colored. Local Color/Down The Shore Publishing

From postcards to selfies, pictures have long served as souvenirs of the Jersey Shore.

The husband-and-wife team of Leslee Ganss and Ray Fisk offer a vibrant journey through the past with their new book, Local Color: Long Beach Island’s Photographic History Reimagined (Down The Shore Publishing, $36)—which features black-and-white photos from the 1870s through the 1980s that have been hand colored.

“Everything was black: black clothes, black umbrellas. I wanted to bring them to life,” Ganss says. The results are striking and memorable. Some photos take on the artistic quality of a still life or a Norman Rockwell painting.

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The book’s images—which are accompanied by explanatory text—include the airship Hindenburg passing over Beach Haven in 1936, a year before its fatal crash in Ocean County; a 1910 game of tug-of-war involving four sharply dressed children; a group of bathing beauties posing happily in 1919; and beachgoers in the 1930s attempting to free a Duesenberg automobile stuck in the sand.

It took four years for the Eagleswood Township couple to assemble the book, which Fisk describes as “a mix of art and photographic history,” including Ganss’s “extensive examination of every element in the photo to ensure authenticity.” They “literally went through thousands of photos” before they chose the 140-plus pictures that made it onto the pages, Fisk says.

An exhibition of selected prints from Local Color is on display from November 20 to December 12 at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences (120 Long Beach Blvd, Loveladies).

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