On Photography: The work of Weegee a.k.a. Arthur Fellig
Share this post with your friends:
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
On Photography

On Photography: Weegee, 1899-1968

“To me, pictures are like blintzes — ya gotta get ’em while they’re hot.” -Weegee 

Weegee, the photographer Arthur Fellig’s pseudonym is the phonetic spelling of the Ouija board. He is known for his gritty photographs made mostly at night of newsworthy events with a 4×5 Speed Graphic press camera and flashbulbs. He was one of the first New York newsmen to have an official police radio in his car. Weegee prided him on being the first to arrive on a crime scene, often even before the police.

“Probably few policemen have seen as much violent sin as Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, did. Specializing in crime and catastrophe, Weegee’s work is regarded as some of the most powerful images of the 20th century. His profound influence on other photographers derives not only from his sensational subject matter and his use of the blinding, close-up flash, but also from his eagerness to photograph the city at all hours, at all levels: coffee shops at three in the morning, hot summer evenings in the tenements, debutante balls, parties in the street, lovers on park benches, the destitute and the lonely. No other photographer has better revealed the non-stop spectacle of life in New York City.” – Steven Kasher Gallery bio of Weegee

Weegee (Arthur Fellig) Self portrait
Weegee (Arthur Fellig) self-portrait

Newspapers

Weegee made his living selling photos to newspapers from 1935 and throughout the 1940s. Weegee focused his work on police headquarters in NYC. He sold his sensational photographs of news events to the Herald-Tribune, Daily News, Post, the Sun, PM Weekly and others. His work began appearing outside the mainstream news press and his fame spread.

“Naked City,” 1945

“Naked City” was published in 1945 followed by “Weegee’s People” in 1946. “Naked City” was a success and provided him with an ongoing income

Entertainment

Weegee turned to celebrity and entertainment industry photography making portraits of notables of the time.  During this time he had moved to Los Angeles where he spent his time and energy making 16 mm films and creating his “Distortions” series of photographs. These were experimental portraits of celebrities and politicians. He returned to New York in 1952 where he wrote and lectured about photography until his death on December 26, 1968.

Weegee’s exhibitions

Weegee’s vision of himself as a photographer is shown in the titles of some of the many exhibitions of his work. “Murder is My Business,” “Caricatures of the Great,” “Weegee by Weegee” and “Weegee the Famous” are a few of the shows he mounted during his lifetime.

Read more On Photography posts.

Share this post with your friends:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

You might also like:

Thanks to our partners who make Photofocus possible:

Drobo – Drobo is the smartest storage solution in the world. Drobo is storage that protects data — photos, videos and everything else — from hard drive failure. Drobo is peace of mind for the working pro or serious amateur who have a lot of external drives cluttering up the desktop. Save 10% with the coupon code PHOTOFOCUS.

Lume Cube – Proudly known as the World’s Most Versatile Light™, Lume Cube represents the future of LED Lighting. Check out the new Lume Cube STROBE, offering anti-collison lighting for drones!

Backblaze – Get peace of mind knowing your files are backed up securely in the cloud. Back up your Mac or PC just $6/month.

B&H – B&H is a world renowned supplier of all the gear photographers, videographers, and cinematographers need and want to create their very best work.

Skylum – Your photos, more beautiful in minutes. Makers of Luminar, Aurora and Photolemur, Skylum adapts to your style and skill level. Check out the new Luminar 3, now available.

Perfectly Clear Complete – Built for precision. Made for beauty. Perfectly Clear has mastered the science of intelligent image correction – creating superior quality photos in record time, so you can get back to doing what you really love…in no time. Special Photofocus deal here.

Viewbug – Learn and improve your photography with over 500 videos. Trusted by millions around the world, join over 2 million photographers who already use Viewbug.