Disco-Era Brooklyn: Photographer Dinanda Nooney’s Portraits of People in Their Bedrooms

Daughter of Bill and Lucy Sikes. 231 Washington Avenue, Clinton Hill. May 7, 1978. Photo by Dinanda Nooney

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    Disco-era Brooklyn is perhaps nowhere captured more intimately than in Dinanda Nooney’s series of photographs documenting 150 homes throughout the borough.

    From late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s childhood home to the abode of celebrity motorcyclist Johnny Redd, many lives were documented by Nooney in the 16 months she spent visiting people in their houses throughout Brooklyn’s diverse neighborhoods in the late 1970s.

    The late photographer’s full collection of Brooklyn photographs are available online via the New York Public Library’s archives. The late 1970s live on in her photos, the nuanced energy of the decade alive in her casually posed subjects, their decorations and outfits representative of a time now long gone.

    Many publications have focused on her living rooms and kitchens but omit her portraits of the bedroom, one of the home’s most intimate chambers. (She also documented at least one bathroom.)

    The photos are very expressive of the people who inhabit them, and this is especially the case with portraits taken in the bedroom. Many of the bedroom portraits show children, which makes sense, since the bedroom is their “own” room and the other rooms belong to the parents or the whole family.

    Nooney happened on the subject of Brooklynites in their homes almost by accident, after working on the 1972 McGovern campaign in the borough, as Brownstoner detailed in the first of our multi-part series on the photographer and her work.

    Dinanda Nooney

    Violet Falcone. 365 Mayfair Drive South, Marine Basin. August 24, 1978. Photo by Dinanda Nooney

    Dinanda Nooney

    Julius and Sally Meizels. Turner Tower, 8H, 135 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights. June 20, 1978. Photo by Dinanda Nooney

    Dinanda Nooney

    Jonathan and Dorothy Nelson. 897 Sterling Place, Bedford Stuyvesant. May 20, 1978. Photo by Dinanda Nooney

    Dinanda Nooney

    Frederick Welch, wife and granddaughter. 799 East 17th Street, Flatbush. November 14, 1978. Photo by Dinanda Nooney

    Dinanda Nooney

    Joseph and Mary Merz, architects. Daughter Julie and cat. 48 Willow Place, Brooklyn Heights. January, 1978. Photo by Dinanda Nooney

    Dinanda Nooney

    Gerard and Maureen Watson. 66 82nd Street, Bay Ridge. December 1, 1978. Photo by Dinanda Nooney

    Dinanda Nooney

    Fred and Nana Albee’s daughter. 230 Carroll Street, Carroll Gardens. July 7, 1978. Photo by Dinanda Nooney

    Dinanda Nooney

    Tom and Debrita Abercrombie, 185 Washington Park, Fort Greene. May 6, 1978. Photo by Dinanda Nooney

    Dinanda Nooney

    Fran Orans. 4715 Surf Avenue, Coney Island, Brooklyn. August 5, 1978. Photo by Dinanda Nooney

    This is part of a series on the late photographer Dinanda Nooney, whose full collection of Brooklyn photographs are available online via the New York Public Library’s archives.

    [Photos: Dinanda Nooney]

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