© 2019 Anna Van Lenten

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea / Preston Gannaway

May 2014

Exhibit opening, screening, & talk
Tuesday May 13, 2014, 7:30 PM
Moderated by Paul Moakley, TIME Deputy Director of Photography

This project is a visual essay exploring the changing character of a working-class seaside community, its residents' relationship to the natural environment and an American neighborhood that has become a collision of class. The Ocean View neighborhood is a place of inherent contradictions. Vulnerable to weather's every whim, the connection to the natural world -- even if not embraced -- can't be denied. Once a rowdy playground for sailors, the area was rampant with drugs and prostitution. Over the decades, it's been a siren call for transients and misfits. But low rent also provides a way out of the projects for working-class families. For them, the beach is free. And it's always there. Ocean View is an area filled with pride, yet perpetually changing. Old cottages are being bulldozed to build million dollar homes. " Gentrification is far from egalitarian. Though lower crime is an obvious up-side, other effects of the changing demographics are far more murky: between the devil and the deep blue sea.

 

When I first moved to Ocean View in 2009, I found the beauty and complexity overwhelming and intoxicating. Having grown up in a homogenized part of the Old South, I’ve long been drawn to -- and felt liberated by -- variance. I had never seen a place so diversified as Ocean View. I’ve found its imperfections alluring, and perhaps more importantly, truthful. This body of work spans nearly five years.