When Aaron Rose began photographing Coney Island in 1961, he bypassed the bluster of the theme parks and sideshows for the more intimate interactions of beach dwellers. Wielding his camera surreptitiously, observing as if from a neighboring blanket, Rose documented a “sun-baked melting pot” of beachgoers of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life, each one utterly unselfconscious, absorbed in a world of his or her own.
He spent the next three summers documenting it, developing the photographs himself and showing them to a few friends, or to no one. One of the earliest art photographers to use C-print paper and chromogenic processing, Rose made images with rosy tans and cool whites that were inspired by the summer skin tones he saw around him.
(All images by Aaron Rose, Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York)