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32" x 21.25" Limited Edition of 4 + 1 AP. Printed on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308. Signed by Artist. 


COLOSSAL VITALITY is a series made over the course of 14 months, focused within the vicinity of the Cliffside Beach Club on Nantucket. This area is home to some of the most impressive properties and well-to-do families on the island.


The title of the series, along with the titles of each photograph, are from passages within F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tragedy, The Great Gatsby. Although nearly a century and several hundred miles separate Nantucket from Gatsby and Daisy’s fictionalized version of Long Island, the similarities are undeniable. Mansions pop up like mushrooms and are carved into every available lot that remains. Languorous summer days slide seamlessly into frat-like nights of debauchery. But what happens after the party is over, the island is quiet, and the swaths of bluegrass lawns sit empty? 


Between April and October the area is swarming with tradespeople of all varieties, battling back against the elements to maintain its pristine condition. 

For a time, the days are peaceful, the wet heat of the day melts easily into fresh North Atlantic evenings and everything is in order. The hard work of the contractors, as well as the years of effort the residents put into these homes, has finally paid off. They have collectively worked to realize an ideal form of this square mile.


The landscape is patient however. Once the homes have emptied, during the violent and raw winter months that an exposed North Atlantic island experiences, the colossal vitality of the summertime orchestration sputters into a cacophonous denouement. 


Dunes swallow boarded up houses; the sea takes more land every year. The difference is so complete, it's a wonder if any of it was real.

Much like Fitzgerald’s tragic hero, belief and determination are powerful agents in the transmutation of the island and this exemplary neighborhood into a vision of idyllic New England luxury, but is it lasting? 


Tremendous mental fortification and years of elaborate orchestrated positioning by Gatsby brought him far, but ultimately fatally short of his desired outcome. Despite the vitality of this curated life, reality cannot be alluded indefinitely. Until next season, when the hedge-trimmers sputter into chorus, the spell dissolves.

Every Bright Feather, 2021. Riley Martin Wynn

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