1979-80. A collection of approximately 1,000 color snapshots taken by an unknown photographer at a New York nude beach in August and September 1979 and June and July 1980. The 5" x 3 1/2" photos are printed on Kodak paper and include the date imprinted on the verso. This collection of images has a voyeuristic quality. The photographer captures personal moments, such as a series showing a young woman shyly disrobing. Another group of images appear to show a bikini clad woman publicly fondling her nude male partner’s penis. Several others appear to show a man sliding his hand between his nude female partner’s thighs. There are numerous close ups of vaginas and the photographer captures shots of several women from the rear when they are bending over. The vast majority of the images are of women sunbathing, applying suntan lotion, playing in the waves, tossing a frisbee, and talking with friends. One grouping has a more familiar quality between subject and photographer. The women in these images, who appear to be lesbians showing affection for one another, pose for numerous photos. This beach appears to be Jacob Riis Beach in Queens, New York City’s unofficial nude beach, as well as a legendary LGBTQ-friendly gathering place. In one image, the bath house with its twin art deco spires can be seen in the background. The sand is populated by hundreds of people of all ages who are openly nude. A few photos show a police officer on horseback patrolling the beach. According to a New York Daily News report from August 26, 1980, police made 107 arrests on charges of public lewdness at the beach since May 26. "The arrests this summer include charges of public masturbation, sodomy and manipulation of private parts by those who sunbathe in the nude," the newspaper reported. According to a 1979 report from the New York Times about nude beaches, the acceptance and proclivity of them seems to be in a state of flux, tolerated in some communities and outlawed in others. At this time, California had the greatest concentration of nude beaches, while New York’s cities and towns set out their own local rules. Police officials at Fire Island in New York wrote tickets to nude sunbathers along the Islip portion of the beach but not in Brookhaven Town, where nude sunbathing was legal. Overall, the photographs carry a light musty smell as if stored in a damp space. A handful have old photo corners attached suggesting they were once housed in an album; otherwise the images are in very good condition and help to illustrate the changing social mores related to publicly nudity. Item #72109

Price: $3,500.00

See all items in Photography
See all items by