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Capturing the Essence of Long Beach Island

Written by Rebeca Muller

Photos by Ryan Johnson

Recognized as offering a beautiful, year-round home to locals as well as an attractive summer getaway for tourists, Long Beach Island is the epitome of scenic beauty. Naturally, this is one of the many reasons that local art—specifically photography—is considered a primary focal point for the community. One artist in particular has spent the better part of two decades capturing the island’s grandeur for a living. Whether she is chasing a sunrise or sunset, or preserving a timeless memory, Surf City-based photographer extraordinaire, Ann Coen, has made a name for herself by means of the captivating story-telling she does through still-life frames.

For the past sixteen years, Coen has built a reputation as a renowned professional portrait and landscape photographer in Long Beach Island. Capturing exquisite images of the area, Coen’s experience warrants the best shots on the island due to her knowledge and mindfulness of the local changing climate, tides and lighting. “I’m really in-tune with my surroundings and the weather,” Coen says, “which is huge for photography.”

According to Coen there are many things to love about one’s job as a photographer, but she particularly enjoys being able to capture nature, the change in seasons, getting to know clients on a personal level, and photographing weddings and families. Bestowed with a photojournalistic eye, being in nature and travelling the world have served as inspirations for Coen to pursue photography professionally. Perhaps that is why some of Coen’s beloved locations to shoot on the island are remote, so “you don’t see a landmark, but you know you’re in LBI,” as she says. Among her favorite settings are areas that can be accessed by boat (out in the bay). She loves working with clients who trust and appreciate her artistry enough to let her take control of the shoot. Having this creative freedom to implement the direction she has in mind truly allows her to give clients the greatest results possible.

The Ann Coen Gallery, located in Surf City, has Coen’s photography of Long Beach Island on display along with the works of other local artists. The gallery has a wide range of landscape images of the island and its coastline.

Clientele of the gallery include locals and tourists, usually in pursuit of pieces that complement their homes’ interior design. Clients often find what they are looking for either on display or through Coen’s photography hard drive, but if not, Coen insists that accommodations can be made in order to capture exactly what the customer has in mind. Whether photographed by a local artist or simply by embodying an aspect of the island, all of the photos in her gallery have one thing in common—their connection to Long Beach Island.

Coen accredits the success of her gallery to the laid back tone it exudes, describing it as “completely low key.” She can be found at the gallery during summertime in a casual sundress, usually assisting clients or collaborating with her team. The Ann Coen Gallery is open, welcoming, and Coen urges potential clients and visitors to feel comfortable walking in. The Ann Coen Gallery is located at 1418 Long Beach Blvd, Surf City, New Jersey.

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