Brooklyn Boro

Kaufman’s Brooklyn: Two photos of ‘People in pairs’

June 16, 2020 Phil Kaufman

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:

A few weeks ago I displayed a selection of pictures called “People, one at a time.” It featured shots of individuals in various settings and circumstances. (Click the link at the end of this or any other Kaufman’s Brooklyn post for the index if you want to go back and take a look through previously posted images.) I knew I’d follow that at some point with pictures of two people together, and this is that point: “People in pairs.”

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I’ve tried to provide a variety of settings and circumstances, like I did with the individuals. But as you’ll see, there are a number of photos of people in entertainment. For some reason, in the ’40s and into the early ’50s, my father did a lot of business with agencies that handled entertainers — particularly jazz and big band artists. I have photos of most of the big names from that post-war era, either in rehearsals, performances, studio sessions or business settings. They’re not always in pairs, of course, but many are and I’ll show a few of them this week.


Today’s photos:

After so much about entertainment yesterday, today’s two pictures take us as far away as you can imagine. I have so many striking images from this locale that I couldn’t narrow them down to one, so I chose two. Each has a different perspective and thus a new feeling, and they’re perspectives and feelings that very few people get to experience firsthand. So I hope you enjoy the virtual reality.


Beautiful view, if …, undated

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Are you jealous or terrified? This isn’t too terrifying, considering they’re standing safely on something firm and horizontal, with a stable and strong railing to hold on to. These two gentlemen may be taking a break, or looking something over, or adjusting that diagonal cable, all part of routine maintenance on the Manhattan Bridge. (“Routine” for whom? Not many.) My father’s shadow is visible, almost reaching the face of the guy on the right. I hope Dad didn’t make any sudden moves with that shadow that could have startled the worker into losing the grip on his cigarette.

 

… You don’t look down, undated

Shall we say this perspective is a bit more “exciting” than the first one? “Exciting” can encompass quite a few feelings, including beautiful, jealous and terrified. The view is inarguably spectacular. The perch is inarguably less secure. (Now we can see what that diagonal cable was connected to, and why it required constant and careful adjustment.) The workers are focused on their job, so they probably aren’t too conscious of the beauty of the view and the insecurity of the perch. It’s amazing how familiarity with a situation, no matter how extraordinary it might be to most people, can eliminate both the beauty and the anxiety that would transfix the rest of us. (A cigarette, presumably a different one, seems to be just as securely held in this position as the last one.)

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 7: Photos of ‘People in pairs’


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