The photographer this week is name Weegee.
He took photos of New York City in the 30’s and 40’s. His name is Arthur Fellig and he is from Austria-Hungary. He was born in 1899 and died in 1969.
The pseudonym Weegee was given to him or adopted by him – no one is really sure why but one reason is because he was always at crime scenes quick so the girls he worked with at AMCE photos gave him that name saying he always knew where to find the best scenes.
Even though he photographed crime scenes which were serious, he is now known for the character and the caricature of his photos. What I like the best when looking at his photos is his messages on the bottom. I feel his spirit almost describes the event. On the bottom of one photo he wrote “I cried when taking this picture”. It was of a daughter and a mother who escaped a fire. The mother was watching two children of hers dies in the fire.
One writer, Luc Sante wrote: “His corpse pictures stand out less; what are more striking are his shots of people reacting to the results of crime.”
I got a feeling of what NYC really was in the 30’s and 40’s. Not just the life of the rich or of the Whites but of the Blacks also.
Here are some of my favorite quotes by him:
My Camera…my life and my love…was my Aladdin’s lamp.
I give myself a bonus- eight hours sleep.
Sometimes a night goes by with no murder and it don’t seem right to me. I think something’s wrong.
I photographed ‘Legs’ Diamond, Dutch Schultz and Vincent Coll. ‘Legs’ Diamond was a nice fellow, kind and courteous, and if you wanted a picture he’d be sure you got it. Only he had to many bullet holes. Somebody was always taking a shot at him.
A photographer should have confidence in himself and if he gets a good idea he should go take it, even if everybody laughs at him.
I searched through my photos and tried to find my Weegee sort of picture and came up with one I took while I was at the hospital. The security guard in my church got shot and a lot of the saints came to visit him. The picture is of the ministers discussing his condition. Weegee photo would probably be in black and white and of the person who got shot. I arrived at the scene a little too late I guess!