why i love WeeGee.

I hope this one isn’t too hard to take, but keep an open mind. Weegee was the nickname of Arthur Fellig, an American photographer well known for his documenting the streets of New York in the 30s and 40s, but not so much street life as actual deaths. Most of his work depicts crime scenes, injuries, murders, suicides, accidents. Born In Ukraine, he migrated to New york in 1909 and worked several odd jobs, including that of a dark room technician, which he left to become a freelance photographer himself. His nickname is a mispronounciation of Ouija, because he kept showing up at crime scenes faster than anyone else, sometimes faster than the police even. His photographs, especially more recently have caused a long going debate on whether crime scene photography can be considered art and should or should not be exhibited in a gallery or museum. I clearly think it should be.

Never having received formal training, Weegee usually used very basic press photographer equipment and developed his photos in the trunk of his car so they were actually “hot of the press”, as hot as it got back then. His crime scene photography differs and stands out from the rest because he has a vision and a perspective. In death, he manages to document life far better than most who photographed the living. He presents a different kind of New York, “the Naked City” as he had named it. His night isn’t all about glamour, but it is about human emotions, about loneliness, desolation, tragedy, and fear. Weegee, preceeded many photographers, such as Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol and Mary Ellen Mark, and showed them the way to photograph the marginal or the weird. For that, his fast thinking and his incredibly keen and staging eye he has to be admired.


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