Weegee’s New York

“Weegee was a forceful photographer with a unique style and personality, but among those photographers currently judged as serious artists, this maverick almost defies acceptance. The images Weegee brought back from another world deeply trouble us. A gritty, raucous and self-advertising voyeur (who called himself ‘the famous’), he prowled the nights as a press photographer, making the lives of ‘the tenants of the city’ his subject matter. He reserved his sharpest sarcasms for the rich, whom he portrays as vacuous and greedy, and his exposure of the concrete horrors of the poverty, filth and violence of big city life, especially New York in the late ’30s and ’40s, insiststhat life just about batters people senseless.  …He adopted the name Weegee, a phonetic rendering of, ‘Ouija,’ the board device which is assumed to predict events, as a way to promote his uncanny ability to be where action is about to happen.”  (Coplans, 7)

The Visual Resources Center has cataloged 23 images from Weegee’s New York. Weegee, born Arthur Fellig, provides us with a time capsule of New York City in the mid 1900’s that avoids glittery embellishment. These images are available to the SCAD community with a MySCAD log-in.

Images clockwise from top-left:

Weegee (Arthur Fellig). (1941). Selling Flowers. Gelatin silver print.

Weegee (Arthur Fellig). (1942). Weegee at the trunk of his Chevrolet. Gelatin silver print.

Weegee (Arthur Fellig). (1937). Summer on the Lower East Side. Gelatin silver print.

Weegee (Arthur Fellig). (c.1940). Transvestite. Gelatin silver print.

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