At Home In Brooklyn: Dinanda Nooney

category: > Features, > Indoor/Outdoor, > Photography

written by: Jaap Proost

THE interior of a house says something about the person who is living there. It tells about likes and dislikes of the inhabitant. What kinds of posters hang on the wall? Do they sit on an IKEA or Eames creation? An interior also gives an image of a time. For instance, looking at the pictures below, we know that in the late seventies racing bicycles were cool too.


In 1978 and 1979 photographer Dinanda Nooney went on an indoor exploration of Brooklyn. Her goal was to photograph the residents of the borough in their comfort of their homes. She talked her way over 163 doormats and took almost 2000 pictures of Brooklynite’s. The pictures show domestic life in the late seventies and also give a look at the mixed population of Brooklyn.

Born in Manhattan, Nooney’s first good introduction with the borough was in 1976. That year George McGovern ran for president and Nooney worked as a volunteer for his campaign. Her job was to persuade Brooklyn voters to choose for McGovern. Knocking on the doors, she grew interested in the place and the people who lived there. Two years later Dinanda Nooney used her campaign contacts to gain access to rooftops in order to get a good view over the neighborhoods. She photographed the cityscape, but soon her interest went inwards and she started photographing persons from the neighborhoods in their home. Those people would recommend friends and family to Nooney and the project grew.


She visited for instance Russel McCombs (photo #1). At that time he lived on 315 Eastern Parkway. His volumes of the magazine Ebony are neatly arranged and the van is blowing. John Yrizzary (#2) at 22 Chester Court paints while posing. Howard Dabny (#3) calmly reads his newspaper in his Macon Avenue home as Nooney does her thing. And Johnny Red (#5) from 416 Wavery Avenue shows the place where he unwinds after a long day.


In 1985 eighty photographs were selected for an exhibition with the appropriate name ‘At Home In Brooklyn’. Ten years later Nooney donated 576 gelatin silver prints to the New York Library.




Click on the double squares in the lower right corner to see popout pictures

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