Fire Island Photo Exhibit

September 17, 2012

Image: Portrait of Steven Wachlin by Shoshanna McCollum

Image: Warren Boyd Wexler, “People Watching on Fire Island”

Alumna Shoshannah McCollum and Warren Boyd Wexler’s photographs of Fire Island will be on display in our Paul Scott Library this fall. The exhibition stems from McCollum’s recent book Fire Island: Beach Resort and National Seashore.

The duo will also have an Artist Talk and Book Signing to accompany the exhibit on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 11:30 am in our Library.

Fire Island Reflections:
The Photography of Warren Boyd Wexler and Shoshanna McCollum

On view: Sept. 24 – Oct. 15

Fire Island: Beach Resort and National Seashore is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, shops across Fire Island and the publisher’s website.

Fire Island Reflections is the vision of two writer/photographers who live on Fire Island, which is a barrier island about five miles off the shore of Long Island, NY. It bears many similarities to Cape Cod. Both are National Seashores, declared by Act of U.S. Congress: Cape Cod in 1962 and Fire Island two years later in 1964. Both are popular tourist destinations as well as having distinct and autonomous communities within their boundaries.

Warren Boyd Wexler a former playwright turned photographer who makes his living selling postcard and prints of the vast nature scenery Fire Island has to offer. Shoshanna McCollum a newspaper journalist who travels on assignments with camera in hand, drawn to the quiet human drama of the island’s residents.

Fire Island Reflections:
The Photography of Warren Boyd Wexler and Shoshanna McCollum

Shoshanna McCollum is a native of Danvers, MA and attended Montserrat School of Visual Art from 1983 to 1985, some of the final years before Montserrat would earn its college accreditation. She transferred to School of Visual Arts in New York City, earning her BFA in 1988 with a Painting major and Art History minor. In 1994, five years after graduation from SVA, she accepted the position of Director / Curator of the Ocean Beach Historical Society located on Fire Island, NY where she researched and planned local history and art exhibitions for the next four years.

Her freelance writing career was launched in the year 2000 when she was offered a column in a popular Fire Island newspaper, the Fire Island Tide. Over that decade she would write for a number of Long Island publications and win awards with the New York Newspaper Association in 2008 and the Long Island Press Club in 2010. She contracted with Arcadia Publishing to write Fire Island: Beach Resort and National Seashore in late 2010, which she would work on for the next year. It was released on March 26, 2012.

Warren Boyd Wexler, born in a basement apartment at the far end of Brooklyn, moved into Manhattan on his own as a teenager, where for the next two decades he supported himself by writing plays while living joyfully in Greenwich Village. Following his heart he started living on Fire Island in 1989 and began photographing the wonderful sights of nature on Fire Island. Prints of his nature photography have now sold globally and a best-selling line of postcards and note cards of his photographs has been a staple in stores and gift shops across Fire Island and Long Island’s South Shore communities since 1992. His photographs have been published in numerous books, magazines, and newspapers, including The New York Times, as well as being held by public and private collections throughout the country. A work of his presently hangs in the offices of the United States Capitol.

In his career as a playwright Wexler authored 29 dramatic scripts that have been performed worldwide, mostly on television through the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He was also part of the design team that assembled The World’s Fair of Health exposition held at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in 1979. He has swum with a family of sea lions in the Galapagos, climbed to the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru, parachuted out of an airplane, been to Carnival in Rio, and traveled down the Nile twice. With permanent residences both in Manhattan and on Fire Island, since 1989 he has made Cherry Grove his chosen home year-round, spending many of his days wandering Fire Island, photographing the magic that he sees all about him.

McCollum and Wexler met in 1996 when she was curating a natural history exhibition at the Ocean Beach Historical Society entitled A Place for the Deer, which documented the evolution of Fire Island’s substantial white-tailed deer population. They have remained friends ever since. Both live with their respective life partners as year-round residents of Fire Island, Wexler in the community of Cherry Grove and McCollum in Ocean Beach. As artists and writers both record unique visions of their barrier island home, each one distinctly different yet equally relevant.