Ash Wednesday: Brooklyn



Neighborhood: South Brooklyn

February 13, 1975

Yesterday shot a roll of people leaving Ash Wednesday church. Should be good. Since the front entrance was locked due to snow, only exit available was small side one. The walk is only about four feet wide, but only two feet were shoveled. So…people had to go by me. I swear, after a while people thought getting photographed by me was part of the ritual. Of course, I couldn’t get everyone. But several times people tapped my shoulder and asked if I’d take their picture too. “Don’t you want to take my picture?” Almost hurt that I neglected them. Especially, three old women who waited until everyone was gone, then asked me to photograph them.
Tri-X, 28mm lens, Nikomat, cloudy day.


Larry Racioppo returned to South Brooklyn in 1970 after two years in California as a VISTA volunteer and had no plans and a $30 camera he barely knew how to use. He took a course at the School of Visual Arts, a job with the telephone company and began to photograph his family and friends. 

Things worked out better than he could have expected.


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§ 5 Responses to “Ash Wednesday: Brooklyn”

  • I am so honored to know Larry Racioppo and his work. He is an amazing photographer and humanitarian. We are also proud to have Larry’s work in the permanent collection at the Museum of Friends. Thank you Larry,

  • Simon B Kiefer says:

    It’s nice to read about the early days in your career, Larry. Thanks for sharing this.

  • rcserow says:

    Larry Racioppo captures the moment perfectly. The expression on the face of the guy with the bow tie says it all.

  • TSB says:

    A lot of atmosphere here, thank you.What is it about these faces and bodies from the era before health, fitness and ‘wellness’ were cultural obsessions? When people smoked and drank and lived with the teeth they were born with, or their absence. As Brooklyn specific as these pictures are, that is the thought they bring to mind–the era when the species was less bifurcated into fitness freaks and the obese. The faces seemed more interesting, less ashamed of being in a state of mind that fell outside the narrow and fairly shallow parameters of being ‘happy.’ The many layers or irony and lament in this guy’s expression…

  • Amy Peck says:

    Thrilled to see a piece by my friend David Allen followed by a piece by my friend Larry Racioppo, keeping us connected to New York City in special ways.

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