Classic Photos of Coney Island in the ’60s

May 04, 2014

The Museum of the City of New York will present In a World of Their own: Coney Island Photographs by Aaron Rose, 1961 – 1963 opening on May 9 through August 3, 2014. When Aaron Rose began photographing Coney Island in 1961, he bypassed the bluster of the theme parks and sideshows for the more intimate interactions of beach dwellers. Wielding his camera surreptitiously, observing as if from a neighboring blanket, Rose documented a “sun-baked melting pot” of beachgoers of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life, each one utterly unselfconscious, absorbed in a world of his or her own.

One of the earliest art photographers to use C-print paper and chromogenic processing, Rose made images with rosy tans and cool whites that were inspired by the summer skin tones he saw around him. The 70 images on display in this exhibition capture a palpable sense of the manners and mores of 1960s New Yorkers at their most unguarded; as photography critic Vince Aletti noted, “the work’s easy rapport and its casual erotic charge are thrilling and touchingly sweet.” Aaron Rose’s Coney Island is “a place where privacy is a state of mind."