In 1939, my father was a 25-year-old, Bronx-born amateur photographer who volunteered at the New York World’s Fair, which granted him expanded access to the grounds and a unique vantage point from which to photograph the event. Although numerous popular snapshots and professional photographs of the Fair exist, my father’s images taken in September of 1940 just weeks before the Fair closed, offer a distinct perspective: he artfully captured architectural shots at night with few, if any, people populating them. In spare, striking contrast, his images evoke the solemnity of the time, and conjure the sinister settings characteristic of the period's film noir.
I inherited my dad’s negatives from the 1939 Fair, and have the pleasure of reprinting them in my darkroom as interest in the Fair persists. His images have been exhibited in museums and licensed for use in television shows.
Perhaps his most iconic image was that of the 700-foot-tall Trylon and 200-foot-diameter hollow Perisphere--the centerpieces of the Fair--with a nearly sixty-foot tall statue of George Washington as he faces the future.
I’ve always considered this image to be a winner, and have submitted it to numerous competitions. I most recently entered it into the Vintage Image Photo Contest for the April 2021 issue of Black & White magazine, one of my favorite fine art photography publications. I’m happy to report that the image won!
The magazine is on newsstands now. You can also view this image and all of my dad’s photographs in the 1939 World’s Fair Gallery via the link above to my website.