Tricky shots: Photo exhibit captures Halloween of the 1970s

Can of steel: Larry Racioppo’s photos of Halloween in the 1970s capture a lost world of plastic costumes and a blue-collar Park Slope.
for Brooklyn Paper
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It’s a look back in black (and white).

A new photo exhibit opening next week captures a lost world — the Brooklyn of the pre-gentrified past. The show “Brooklyn Photographs,” which opens on Sept. 6 at Bric House in Fort Greene, features 11 photographers who have put their focus on the county of Kings, capturing the many ways that life in the borough has changed over the last 50 years, said its curator.

“The exhibition unfolds like a series of chapters, revealing aspects of life in Brooklyn through the work of 11 photographers active from the late 1960s to the present,” said Elizabeth Ferrer. “The show exists as a way for our audience to look at a Brooklyn that once was and a Brooklyn that is in the throes of becoming — the change is relentless.”

Each artist in the show focused on a different subject and neighborhood, including images of roller disco in Crown Heights during the 1980s, the West Indian Day Parade over the course of 20 years, and the construction of Barclays Center.

Photographer Larry Racioppo, a Brooklyn native, will display his pictures of Halloween trick-or-treaters, taken in Park Slope during the early 1970s. The images of unaccompanied kids in improvised costumes, spraying each other with shaving cream, are a stark contrast to the family-friendly daytime activities of today’s Halloween, he said.

“People don’t go out by themselves as much — it’s more of a parental scene with organized parades,” said Racioppo. “The kids playing with shaving cream and eggs remind me of myself.”

The images come from the days before Park Slope was a tony neighborhood, when few people cared about it, said Racioppo, who is happy to have his work featured in the collection.

“Working people don’t get enough attention, and you don’t see many stories about blue collar people anymore,” he said.

Ground-level photos like Racioppo’s capture the essence of the borough in a way that staged photos cannot, said Ferrer.

“There is a remarkable body of street photography made in Brooklyn over many decades and I wanted to provide a platform for this work,” she said. “This kind of photography truly shows people and places in the moment.

“Brooklyn Photographs” at Bric House [647 Fulton St. at Rockwell Place in Fort Greene, (718) 683–5600,]. Opening reception Sept. 6 at 7 pm. On display through Oct. 29; Tue–Sat, 10 am–6 pm; Sun, noon–6 pm. Free.

Posted 12:00 am, August 31, 2017
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