As a W MAGAZINE PANELIST I recently had the pleasure of attending the Director’s Preview of renowned photographer, Christer Stromholm’s LES AMIES DE PLACE BLANCHE.
While there I found myself in awe of another exhibit;
“WEEGEE, MURDER IS MY BUSINESS.”
I found his photos to be quite captivating to say the least. They truly were the epitome of not being able to look away; like rubber necking at an accident scene. They caught me and dragged me deeply in. Certainly it is not every day you see murder caught in time – enabling the viewer to grasp the intense reality of the scene. From 1935 to 1946 this was “Weegee’s” reality.
His real name was Arthur (Usher) Fellig – (1899–1968). He was born in Austria and came to the states in 1909. He grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. From a young age he worked in photography, first as a
passport photographer, eventually working up to a darkroom assistant. Another name for a darkroom assistant was “squeegee boy” and evidently that name took. In his mid-thirties he quit his darkroom job to become a freelance photographer. He rapidly became known for his shots of NYC crime scenes. Soon after his notoriety, various magazines came to use his photos. He could be named the grandfather of the tabloid photo!
He had a gift of capturing very intense scenes and expressions on horrified on-lookers faces. Each photo told such a long story that I really found myself transfixed on many of them. His photos made it possible to peer into the subject’s eyes and feel what they were feeling.
In his lifetime Weegee also became a renowned writer including writing his autobiography “Naked City” which waspublished in 1945.
This amazing exhibit will be open to the public from May 18-Sept 2. Thank you to W Magazine for inviting me to experience this exhibit.