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A room of ones own

These photos are selected from the The Nooney Brooklyn Photographs, by Dinanda H. Nooney documenting almost 200 families or individuals in their Brooklyn homes in the late 1970s.

Nooney was very meticulous in her photographic projects, her first project was to document the entire length of the West Side Highway in Manhattan, which had partially collapsed in 1973 and was demolished beginning in 1977. In her second project was to document Brooklyn. She used her connections from when she was working in Brooklyn as a volunteer for George McGovern’s presidential campaign, gaining her the access to rooftops and other vantage points for a survey of the borough.

She worked almost daily from January 1978 to April 1979, crisscrossing the borough, documenting the broad ethnic and economic range of Brooklyn’s residents. The project became the subject of an exhibition, At Home in Brooklyn, at the Long Island Historical Society in 1985.

I have chosen a few photos from the collection without any residents because I believe our homes tell as much about us as a portrait would be able to, and I think it’s interesting to imagine who the people behind these homes are (or were).

Nursery School of Dorothy Howard. 150 Vernon Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Dorothy Howard & daughter Lisa. 579 Putnam Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Joseph & Mary Merz. 48 Willow Place, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

Apartment of Milton Briggs. 447 State St. Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

Home of Joe & Natalie Bailey. 123 Hancock St., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn