So, another day, another chance to celebrate the wonders of the Library of Congress Flickr Stream! Today, we return again to the set of news photos of the 1910s, this time with some lovely images of an interesting place: Brighton Beach. It’s gray and miserable and almost May in Iowa, but somewhere in the early 1900s, it’s a black and white and sunny summertime in New York, and the sea air is fresh over Coney Island.
The dancers who are the center of the action are, oddly enough, almost never the most interesting thing in the image. To the left, there is a man looking directly into the camera as if he were studying the process of photography, seemingly unaware of his own presence in the image. To the right, another man wears a rather odd expression, looking rather like he’d lost something and couldn’t recall where or when — or possibly what.
A pair of men guard dancers within the camera’s eye, as if it were vitally important that the photographer have the clearest possible view of the dance; at least one of the guardians, on the left, seems to find the whole business rather funny, while the other looks as if the job were quite serious, a sort of official post. The boy seems to be staring at the woman’s posterior with a bit more interest than is, perhaps appropriate. Her swimming costume is fashionable, and perhaps a little racier than the fuller-skirted versions in prior photos. It’s striking how few women there are in these images — men cluster around to see what’s going on, but other than the dancers, there seem to be no women on the beach at all.
Looks like a nice summer, though. Makes me hungry for the sun!