Here’s a few things to know about Ralph Morse, the man who took these sweet photos of springtime in Brooklyn in 1949.
Morse made his name as a combat photographer during World War II. He had seen enough action that, when interviewed by fellow LIFE photographer John Loengard for the book LIFE Photographers: What They Saw, he was able to recount, from experience, such details as how the steel of a Navy boat can heat up when it is taking fire from all the explosions. Morse was at the battles of Normandy and Verdun, and also at Guadalcanal, where he took a famously horrific photo of a skull on a tank. Morse told Loengard, “It’s a great picture to show people who want to go to war what war is really like.”
Morse’s experience is something to keep in mind when viewing the photos that this native New Yorker took of springtime in Brooklyn in 1949. This isn’t the sort of assignment that made for war stories. But his background informs the way he cherishes the details of a sunny April day: a boy propelling a toy car with his feet, a girl enjoying a refreshing drink from atop her tricycle, kids piling into an ice cream truck.
Morse’s photos here also show appreciation for the more sedate and adult enjoyments of early spring—the sowing of seeds in the garden, the start of seasonal cleaning, a chance for a bask on the rooftop