“Coney Island Beach” by Weegee, gelatin silver print, 20.6 x 25.4 cm (8 1/8 x 10 in.), 1940.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Coney Island Beach” by Weegee, gelatin silver print, 20.6 x 25.4 cm (8 1/8 x 10 in.), 1940. Accession Number: 1987.1100.252. © Weegee / International Center of Photography. Large format reproduction retrieved from Le Gaston (follow the link for an even larger version: 5608×4320).

The Smithsonian website has an interesting article about a similar photograph taken by Weegee in 1942. Apparently, the whole idea was to capture on film how “Joe Average” was coping with the summer heat in New York. Weegee would go at the beach on a crowded day and try to get all the attention he could:

“Whatever it took to get the shot, Weegee did it,” Barth says. “That was part of his genius.” Barth has it from Louie Liotta, Weegee’s longtime assistant, that the boss climbed up on a lifeguard station and screamed and danced until everybody started to look. “And when they did,” says Barth, “he took the photograph. It was that simple.” (read more: “Weegee’s Day at the Beach” by Matthew Gurewitsch, June 2009)

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Previously: Hot summers in New York: Weegee and Arthur Miller

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