"Koitz Gay Fire Island: It's Good to be Us'", also known as "Gay Fire Island" covers 14 summers of queer life on the two mostly gay and lesbian communities of Fire Island. The photographs Koitz presents in this book come from his work in both Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines, where for years he has documented local events, big and small, such as the Invasion of the Pines, the Pines party or the Underwear party. In addition to this public aspect, his friendships in both communities have given him exceptional access to capture private moments that define, always in Koitz's revealing and highly individual perspective, the singular atmosphere found only in Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines.
Koitz continues in a distinguished line of tradition-challenging Fire Islanders like visual artists Paul Cadmus, Jared French, and Margaret Hoening, who, in their collaborative work under the name PaJaMa, also explored the beauty of the human figure in the stark, almost austere landscape of sea, sky and sand.
What makes these photographs so celebratory is that they capture the spirit that has everyone welcoming the next ferry, the spirit that makes some of us dress in drag, or as pixies, or as house-blessing nuns, the spirit that allows some of us to dress as a framed Mona Lisa at happy hour and some of us to undress in places where we might otherwise have stayed covered up. A crowd at Low Tea, captured from above with fading light and a long exposure, looks as graceful and slippery as a school of koi. A pair of go-go boys, dancing in the foreground as Valley of the Dolls is projected onto a sheet behind them, looks simultaneously like dolls before giants and giants before dolls. A pack of friends wandering through the Meat Rack at night becomes an impromptu birthday party that is transformed, through Koitz's lens, into a stolen moment from A Midsummer Night's Dream.