Ray Ewing of Edgartown is a photographer who has been inspired for years by the Vineyard, but his new project Fauxasis takes that inspiration in a rather unexpected direction. Mr. Ewing’s latest photo series explores the symbols of Martha’s Vineyard and what he calls his “simultaneous desire and disdain for leisure environments.”

The artist in his favorite shirt; Ray Ewing examined his upbringing in his latest photography exhibition. — Anthony Esposito

Born and raised on the Vineyard, Mr. Ewing described his tendency to avoid telling people about where he grew up when he left the Island for his undergraduate degree at Maine College of Art.

“People would ask me where I was from and I would just say Massachusetts,” he said. “Talking to my peers from Martha’s Vineyard, I noticed they experienced the same thing. A lot of it came out of wanting to avoid people’s normal associations with the Island. We didn’t want them to think we were going home to a giant mansion on the beach, or a trust fund, or that the only reason we were there with them in the real world was that we were slumming it. We also didn’t want the tourism thing.”

Mr. Ewing recently turned his perceptions of what he thought other people thought about the Island into Fauxasis. The Oak Bluffs Public Library held a reception on June 21 for the large-scale photography show, which has been on display all month. Presented by the friends of the library, the show featured six four-by-six-foot vinyl posters, each with a different vibrant photograph from Mr. Ewing’s collection.

Day at the Beach. Lots of sand and sky, but where's the ocean? — Ray Ewing

“One of the points of this project was relieving that shame, exercising that embarrassment out of me,” Mr. Ewing said. “I took the symbols, the symbols from Martha’s Vineyard, the symbols of Island, of beach, of summer, of tourism, and put them out in the wrong place, put them out of place in the desert, in the southwest and just let them fail all the way.”

Some of the symbols included inflatable beach toys, flip-flops and beach towels, all carefully arranged. For the photos in which the photographer is also present, Mr. Ewing used an intervalometer, which can take a picture every five seconds for 1,000 pictures. The byproduct of these photographs was a time-lapse video that Mr. Ewing presented during the opening reception.

The photographs themselves were the product of Mr. Ewing’s three-year tenure at the University of New Mexico, where this spring he received his MFA in studio arts with a concentration in photography. Fauxasis has been shown in places ranging from China to New Zealand, but Mr. Ewing said the bulk of the work is meant for people on the Vineyard.

Yuma Fauxasis #2 - Mr. Ewing used an intervalometer to put himself in his pictures. — Ray Ewing

“It’s for my peers who grew up here, who had the similar experiences, but maybe haven’t thought this much about what it means and how to approach it,” he said. “The victory for me, personally, is when I got over the embarrassment and now feel free to come back...to own what it means to be from a place like this and to be proud of it.”

In the fall, Mr. Ewing will again leave the Vineyard as he heads to Palm Springs, Calif., to teach photography at The College of the Desert. This summer he continues his work as a photographer for the Gazette.

To view the collection or any of Mr. Ewing’s other projects, visit rayewing.com.