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Party on the Boardwalk - Fourth of July 2009

This is the third year that I’ve been out on the boardwalk of Pacific Beach/Mission Beach in San Diego. What can I say, I love it. The scene has changed over the years. Unfortunately, drinking is no longer allowed on the beach. The big public party scene is over. Gone.

Instead, the private parties at the beach houses ruled. So, in pursuit of documenting this important day in the life of thousands of San Diegans, party crashing I went. Actually, half the people that I met were from Arizona. (Thank you AZ for keeping the patriotic beer bong spirit alive.)

There are those who party, and those who watch.

Everyone has a story. This fellow was sitting on the wall that separates the boardwalk from the beach. He was looking at everyone partying and having fun. He’s from AZ but going to school at the University of San Diego. USD is kind of San Diego’s version of USC - wealthy and white. So I asked him about that. He said that he’s there on a basketball scholarship.

Seeing him watching the partying going on seemed like a metaphor for something bigger. Why was he sitting on the sidelines watching? I don’t know, but I have my guesses.

Do I need to say how much I love this shot? I mean, a tongue, a tattoo, two girls and the American flag all wrapped into one decisive moment.

I have to say that this isn’t as easy as it looks. Getting these images takes dedication, hard work and tequila. I showed up with my van at 6:30 in the morning to grab a parking spot. Then I engaged in a steady diet of Newcastle beer followed by tequila. Which was in turn followed by plenty o’ cheap party beer. I generally start training in May so that I’m ready for the big event.

I like to go by myself. It’s easier to crash a party when you’re just one guy with a camera. If I was with a group of guys, I don’t think people would be so welcoming. Besides, I like to just float around and not have to worry about whatever anyone else is doing. I sort of feel like this Zelig character melding with my surroundings and the crowd. I’m fortunate because I look young (enough) and can fit in (sort of). In reality, I’m probably as old as some of their parents.

This is me with a girl who confused me for the guy from Girls Gone Wild. (I didn’t have the heart to tell her that he’s in jail.)

I can’t do my craft and create my art without people willing to open up and allow me to photograph them. To all of you, thanks! I’m also thankful to everyone who let me crash their party. To those that kicked me out, screw you.

John

7 Responses to “Party on the Boardwalk - Fourth of July 2009”

  1. The Actual Joey Himself Says:

    You have got some mad people skills.

  2. Patrick Says:

    Great series, John. Love the post work, too!

  3. Cheryl Spelts Says:

    Love this John! When I was at SDSU everyone wanted to live in Pacific Beach - and your images may be a lot more beautiful than reality - but still you’ve shown why it was THE place to be. Just beautiful…

  4. Erik Dungan Says:

    Epic pictures, as usual … are you using a tilt-shift lens in some of those?

  5. laureen Says:

    bloody hell…these are just amazing! Love them all John - thanks for the share!

  6. Tony Bisson Says:

    Fuck.

  7. Cheryl Spelts | Photo Blog | Some of my favorite things in 2009… Says:

    [...] John Mireles’s Party on the Boardwalk – Fourth of July 2009 7/31/2009 [...]

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