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Peter Burr, Sunshine Monument

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1940, print date unknown

Not on view

1940, print date unknown


Gelatin silver print

Sheet: 7 15/16 × 10in. (20.2 × 25.4 cm) Image: 7 7/16 × 9 7/16in. (18.9 × 24 cm)

Accession number

Postumous Print

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Denise Rich

Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate

Although he is best known for his photographs of New York City’s nocturnal dramas—car accidents, rescues, tenement fires, and criminal busts—Weegee’s work had another, lighter side: he photographed parades, rallies, public events, and here, the teeming summertime crowds at Coney Island. Each summer, for several years, he pictured the throngs of people who flocked to the seaside location for PM, a tabloid-style newspaper for which he did occasional freelance work. Shot from an elevated lifeguard station, the image is packed with bodies, from left to right and back to the horizon line; the amusement park for which Coney Island was known has been marginalized to the periphery of the shot. Although much of the mass is an indistinct blur, dozens of individuals in the foreground can be distinguished—shielding their eyes from the hot sun and straining to see the photographer, or waving and preening for the camera. Despite the large crowd, Weegee manages to capture—as in his tabloid photographs—the singularity, and even a hint of the personality, of the lone figure.