Advanced Search

K-12 Educator
K-12 Student
Museum Visitor
UMMA Docent
UMMA Staff
University Faculty
University Student
Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

Query builder

Beach Accident, Coney Island, New York

Accession Number

Beach Accident, Coney Island, New York

Margaret Bourke-White

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date
1952; printed circa 1950s

Medium & Support
gelatin silver print on paper mounted on masonite

75 1/2 in x 60 in (191.77 cm x 152.4 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl R. Withers

Subject matter
This aerial photograph of Coney Island beach represents the aftermath of a swimming accident. A large group of people congregate in a large mass around Mary Eschner, who had nearly drowned in the Atlantic just moments earlier. It appears that even more people are gathering to see what has happened. The bird's eye vantage of the photograph allows the viewer to discern the size as well as the spiraling, hurricane-like shape of the gathering cluster of spectators, a form of visual access unavailable to those on the ground. Published in LIFE magazine, Bourke-White's powerful image transformed Eichner's personal trauma into the subject of nation-wide interest. 

Physical Description
Aerial view of a beach on which a swimming accident has occurred. A group of people swarm to the central location and focal point of the photograph, where the injured person lies.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
black and white print

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

aerial photographs
amusement parks
bodies of water (natural)
groups of people

14 Related Resources

Art of interest to Judaic Studies
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Death and Dying
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
New York City
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
The Crowd
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
(Part of: Lesson Plan: Ganesha and Vishnu Avatars)
Objects from Aftermath: Landscapes of Devastation
(Part of: <b>Aftermath: Landscapes of Devastation</b>)
Grammar and Ekphrasis Writing Portfolio
(Part of: Writing + Art Enrichment Activities)
(Part of: Patient Experience)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display