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Coney Island, Depression Girl with Safety Pin

Sidney Kerner

The Depression years in the 1930s were difficult everywhere, and Coney Island suffered as a reduced disposable income made people less prone to spend money on entertainment. Enjoying the free beach and boardwalk promenades, the crowds still arrived in great numbers, but income from amusement concessions plunged even though many barkers and operators cut prices in half. Luna Park went into bankruptcy in 1933, and when it reopened after a brief closing, the park could only afford to light a fraction of its many bulbs. Many people, even families, used the space beneath the boardwalk as temporary shelter. In an effort to use the camera as a tool to reflect a difficult social climate, Sidney Kerner, a Brooklyn-born photographer, had joined Paul Strand’s and Berenice Abbott’s newly established Photo League in 1937, a year before he took this picture.
MEDIUM Gelatin silver photograph
DATES 1938
DIMENSIONS sheet/image: 8 x 6 1/4 in. sheet/image: 20.4 x 15.8 cm  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed "Sidney Kerner" in graphite verso
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed "Coney Island 1938" in graphite verso
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Gift of the artist
RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
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CAPTION Sidney Kerner (American, 1920-2013). Coney Island, Depression Girl with Safety Pin, 1938. Gelatin silver photograph, sheet/image: 8 x 6 1/4 in. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the artist, 1995.128.6. © artist or artist's estate
IMAGE overall, 1995.128.6_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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