Brooklyn Boro

Kaufman’s Brooklyn: Two photos of ‘Small people in pairs’

June 23, 2020 Phil Kaufman
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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:

Last week, I displayed “People in pairs.” In many cases, there was a lot to say about the people featured — their careers, their relationships to each other, and details about their activities or the settings they were in. This week’s theme, “Small people in pairs,” sounds similar, but it’s really very different. In most cases, there’s not much to say about the photos’ subjects — maybe a bit of background, where they are, what they’re doing. But it’s mostly just interesting to look at and reflect a little on what kids of various ages are like.

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I’ve tried to provide a variety of settings and circumstances, like I did with the adults last week. Though it wasn’t a major area of my father’s work, a number of his clients brought him into contact with young people — certainly enough to generate hundreds of interesting images of kids of all ages, who are all adorable.

Today’s photos:

Today’s two pictures show small folks doing things that involve or simulate physical activity for the strong. “Grow up big and strong” is the admonition of many parents and the ambition of many children. These may be on their way.

Count to three, c. 1936

This wrestling contest at the Flatbush Boys Club (2245 Bedford Ave.) might be over. One boy seems to have his opponent pinned. All he needs is a count of three. But he’s looking at the cameraman for the count. Oddly, the referee, who should be doing the counting, is also looking at the camera. What gives? Who won? Who cares?


A hundred pounds, August 16, 1940

This “muscle contest” took place at the Children’s Aid Society Playground in Bath Beach. Children had their muscles measured and engaged in assorted strength-building exercises, including some wish-fulfilling weight lifting opportunities. Apparently competitors were allowed a friend or coach on the platform for encouragement.

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 All prints purchased will be the product of professional scanning and editing.

Weekly collection 8: Photos of ‘Small people in pairs’

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