My first introduction to WEEGEE was an exhibit at the Getty in Los angeles. I fell in love with his style of shooting as in photography and his ability to capture the scene with such authority that you thought you were actually there. I then followed his work as far as auctions and galleries.
I have always loved photography, and I have written about some of my favorites in this blog, but Weegee is such an art form unto himself.
I was in a gallery in Los angeles, a couple of weekends a go and they had some of his photography of the 1930′s and ’40′s. The New York underworld of that time period has been encapsulated in the photographs of WEEGEE. His name is pronounces like a Ouiji board because of his uncanny knack of showing up at crime scenes only minutes after crimes, fires or other emergencies were reported! Weegee was the pseudonym of Arthur Fellig (1899-1968) a photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography.Weegee worked in the Lower East Side of New york City as a press photographer and he developed his signature style by following the city’s emergency services and documenting their activity. Much of his work depicted unflinchingly realistic scenes of urban life, crime, injury and death. Weegee published photographic books and also worked in the cinema making short films.
In 1943 five of his photographs were acquired by the Museum of Modern Art. Naked city was his first book of photographs and in 1948 Weegee’s aesthetic formed the foundation for Hellinger’s film The Naked City. It was based on a gritty 1948 story about the investigation into a model’s murder in new York.