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3 Items in this Learning Collection
Collection Object
Collection Object

All Rights Reserved ()

Beach Accident, Coney Island, New York

Accession Number

Beach Accident, Coney Island, New York

Margaret Bourke-White

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Medium & Support
gelatin silver print on paper mounted on masonite

Object Creation Date
1952; printed circa 1950s

Object Creation Place
United States

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl R. Withers

75 1/2 in x 60 in (191.77 cm x 152.4 cm)

Primary Object Classification
Primary Object Type
black and white print

Physical Description
Aerial view of a beach on which a swimming accident has occurred. A group of people swarm to the central location and focal point of the photograph, where the injured person lies.

Primary Keywords
aerial photographs
groups of people
bodies of water (natural)
amusement parks

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Subject matter
This aerial photograph of Coney Island beach represents the aftermath of a swimming accident. A large group of people congregate in a large mass around Mary Eichner, who had nearly drowned in the Atlantic just moments earlier. It appears that even more people are gathering to see what has happened. The bird's eye vantage of the photograph allows the viewer to discern the size as well as the spiraling, hurricane-like shape of the gathering cluster of spectators, a form of visual access unavailable to those on the ground. Published in LIFE magazine, Bourke-White's powerful image transformed Eichner's personal trauma into the subject of nation-wide interest. 

aerial photographs
groups of people
bodies of water (natural)
amusement parks

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved