As the autumn chill firmly sets in, AtEdge would like to share a photo series by Michael Prince that reminds us all of the sweet warmer days of summer. Michael captures a rite of passage in Gloucester, Massachusetts: the Magnolia Pier jumping tradition. Fast shutter speeds, portraiture, and reaction shots. Pier chaos. His series is a loving portrait of youth, dipped in honey, sprinkled with salt, and effused with a classic feeling of Americana. Good luck making your way through this series without cracking a smile. These are photos you can feel.
Images: © Michael Prince
What once served as a welcome to steamships carrying passengers from Boston and beyond, now stands as a restored version of what Gloucester residents call, “The Soul of the City”. The Magnolia Pier dates back as far as the 1800’s and, despite several rebuilds, has remained a central destination within the city. With camera in hand, photographer Michael Prince makes the board-walked trek each day to document the thrilling free falls of residents, both young and old. “It’s a rite of passage here, a generational thing. Older people still talk about their days of jumping.”
Text: Marianne Campbell
After three storms slammed into the coastline in 2018, the beloved landmark laid in wait of demolition. However, after raising over $900,000 in a grassroots effort to fund a new build, the unveiling of the town’s restored Magnolia Pier graced residents with its long-awaited presence, just a few months ago. “The kids are just going nuts.”
Prince’s images not only capture the elation of youth in a way that feels viscerally heartening, they also convey the joy of community and the connective power of the Magnolia Pier. His eye for upside-down moments and ecstatic expressions, beautifully capture the pride of the jump and the heart of the jumpers.
“I still jump to this day. The kids will call me to tell me that they are headed down there.”
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Michael Prince first worked as a photojournalist; he later turned to fine art photography, and had his first solo show at the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York City. He has had solo exhibitions in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles galleries as well. His work is in the Library of Congress, several Museums and many private collections. In 2000 he began shooting commercially, quickly gained a broad clientele, and has enjoyed numerous awards and high recognition. Michael lives near Boston with his wife, Kristin; and Romi, the best dog in the world.
Check out more of Michael’s wonderful work through the links below.