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November 07, 2004

Eye Candy, photography


by Arthur Fellig Weegee
Their First Murder

Weegee (Arthur Fellig), American (Born Poland), 1899-1968

Weegee, who was born in Poland in 1899, immigrated to New York City in 1909, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. At the age of fourteen, he left school to support his family by working at a number of odd jobs. As a young boy he became interested in photography and worked as a street photographer for several years, later joining Acme Newspaper as a darkroom technician. This job developing film is what led Weegee to becoming a news photographer. In the 1930's he obtained his first Speed Graphic, a 4 x 5 black and white, hand-held camera with a number five flashbulb, which he used for the rest of his career. As a freelance photographer, he set up a post at the Manhattan Police Headquarters and used an officially authorized police radio in his car to arrive at news-making scenes or catastrophes before his competitors. Weegee contributed to several newspapers and magazines, including P.M., Vogue, Holiday, Life, Look, and Fortune. He also created three short films and was the subject of two; Lou Stoumen's "The Naked Eye", named after one of Weegee's books, made the photographer a celebrity..

Weegee was the epitome of a brash, cigar-chewing, wisecracking news photographer. With his stark, graphic style, he specialized in documenting, the dark side of New York City life: the violence, crime, murder,robbery, and fires that occurred in the city each day. However, Weegee also photographed more benign scenes of children playing, celebrities and their fans, and everyday life of New York City inhabitants. His spontaneous, witty, and meaningful work went beyond that of a news photographer. He once said that he wished to show that ten and a half million people lived together in a state of total loneliness.

Biographical info from here.

Posted by Dan at November 7, 2004 05:22 PM

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