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The Man in Montauk

Photographer Ben Watts on why he can’t get enough of the East End

While Montauk—the formerly quiet fishing village at the far end of Long Island—has in recent years become something of a hipster Hampton, photographer Ben Watts fell in love with the town back in 1998, before the hordes arrived.

Now he’s releasing Montauk Dreaming, a photo-driven book paying tribute to the beauty and the beach that the town has to offer—and some of it is bound to surprise readers. 

Inside Montauk Dreaming

Inside Montauk Dreaming

“I wanted to make this just a summer project, because while there’s a massive amount of beauty and interest during the winter months, I wanted to keep it about color and summer,” Watts says. “Over the years that I’ve been in Montauk, it’s been becoming more and more popular, and it’s at the forefront of what’s happening in the Hamptons at the moment. So I just thought, I need to get this now or somebody else is going to.” 

What Watts captured is a sun-soaked mix of locals, models, late nights and early mornings. The book shows off the grit and the glamour that makes Montauk something entirely unique and undeniably of the moment.

Inside Montauk Dreaming

Inside Montauk Dreaming

“I’ve read tons of great books on the Hamptons, but they’ve always lumped together the towns,” Watts says. “I wanted to make my book exclusively about Montauk because I really think it deserves it. To me, it’s this special and magical place and it always will be.”