Wallace G. Levison was a chemist, inventor, and lecturer who founded the Departments of Mineralogy and Astronomy at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences in the latter half of the 19th century.
He was also an avid photographer, using the new technology both as a scientific tool and a recreational activity. As the dawn of the 20th century approached, newer, more sensitive film emulsions were developed that allowed pictures to be taken with faster shutter speeds.
Levison’s photographs, snapped amid the hustling crowds of Manhattan and the frolicking bathers of Coney Island, display an obsession with motion and a delight with freezing actions that could previously only be recorded as a blur. See below a selection of images curated by Alex Q. Arbuckle.