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Jess Swanson, Senior Editor
Jess Swanson, Senior Editor
Jun 2021

Tails have never prevented hundreds of mermaids from strutting down the boardwalk for the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade, a fantastical New York tradition since 1983 that celebrates the start of summer on the Saturday closest to the solstice (June 21). After being held virtually last year, the parade is expected to return to the Coney Island Boardwalk for its 39th iteration this summer—exciting not just the seafaring creatures who don scaly getups, marine-inspired makeup and avant-garde accessories, but also award-winning photographer Terri Gold, who has captured thousands of images since she began shooting the parade more than 20 years ago (many have been published in her book Coney Island Mermaid Parade). “Mermaids represent someone who is at ease in the waters of life,” says Gold. “The parade is about artistic self-expression and the imagination, and everything goes!”

Credit: Terri Gold

Gold has traveled to remote villages, some as far as Namibia and China, photographing various tribal traditions, but the Mermaid Parade is in the New York-based photographer’s backyard. “I’m interested in how we connect with our tribe, how we celebrate together all over the world, whether it be a good harvest, birth, death or springtime,” she says. “The Mermaid Parade is completely a ritual—it celebrates fantasy, the myth of Coney Island and the joy of summer returning.”
terrigoldworldimagery.com

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