Kaufman’s Brooklyn: June 4: Three photos from ‘An ordinary day on Brooklyn’s streets’
My father, Irving Kaufman (1910 – 1982), was a professional photographer who started in Brooklyn in the mid 1930s working for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. He captured thousands of images of Brooklyn through the 1950s. I have recently digitized a great many of them. My father’s profile can be found here.
This week’s theme:
So far, in all the posts I’ve created, I have selected images that showed something unusual. First, I chose streets that seemed unnaturally quiet for broad daylight in busy Brooklyn. Then I chose people who were by themselves, but somehow looking extraordinary or doing something extraordinary. Then came fun, in a variety of forms, often photogenic. Then the Depression, thankfully not usual scenes from our history.
This week I hope to interest you in pictures of common, everyday activity. I call this week’s photos “An ordinary day on Brooklyn’s streets.” Normally, ordinary things are not very interesting. Why will this be different? Back in April, our streets were eerily empty. That’s why I thought quiet streets from long-ago Brooklyn could be interesting. Now our Brooklyn streets, though not yet normal, are becoming less quiet and empty. So maybe it’s time for a look at ordinary scenes on Brooklyn streets from long ago.
I’m changing my routine today by providing three pictures instead of two. You’ll see why as we go along. They are all from the same place at essentially the same time. The second is not a different photo; it just highlights a portion of the first. The third was taken a couple of moments later from a different perspective.
Overflowing produce, August 16, 1943
This scene doesn’t look much different from a few others I’ve posted this week. The abundant produce, displayed and purchased on the sidewalk, make it no different from any other shopping scene: another ordinary day on an ordinary Brooklyn street. But I have a different reason for showing this. Scroll, please.
Two little shoppers, August 16, 1943
Remember I said that there’s often a person or two looking at the camera in an otherwise candid shot? Well here they are in this scene, and as far as I was concerned, they stole the show. These children warranted a picture just for themselves. Did they catch your eye in the full shot above? The older one looks frightened. I hope she didn’t think my father was a threat, with that funny looking machine in his hands, pointed at them. The little one’s expression seems to be more like befuddlement and curiosity than fear. Look at the expression in the next shot and see if you agree that he’s not worried.
Little looker, August 16, 1943
Now it just looks like interest; the face is more relaxed, the hand not gripping tight. The carriage is turned the other way, and the young one also turned around to keep looking at the strange fellow doing that strange thing. I may be seeing what I want to see, but give it a few more minutes and a few more photos, and I’ll bet this little one and my father could have made friends. I’d like to think they did.
An index of Kaufman’s Brooklyn posts may be found here.
Irving Kaufman’s profile may be found here.
I invite you to submit comments, memories, images of Brooklyn, and especially any additional background information you can supply about the photos posted here to [email protected]. I’d also be glad to supply information about buying prints of any of the images seen here. Many of my father’s images are also available for viewing and purchase at http://yourartgallery.com/irvingkaufmanstudios. All prints purchased will be the product of professional scanning and editing.
Weekly collection 5: Photos from ‘An ordinary day on Brooklyn’s streets’
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