October 26, 2008

Weegee The Famous

I recently came across an image by the hard-boiled artist and photojournalist Weegee (aka Arthur Fellig) that was unfamiliar to me. The photograph has to rank up there as one of the strangest yet most romantic pictures I've ever come across. A couple of space cadets, lost in love, probably at a loft party in the Greenwich Village of yesteryear. Good for them! The image can be found in the book titled "Unknown Weegee", published by ICP/Steidl, 2006.        

Weegee of course came to national prominence with the publication of "Naked City" in 1945 by Essential Books.  His gritty, after-midnight documentary photographs of New York City murders, nightlife, oddball citizens, social strata, and even romance inspired the 1948 film noir movie of the same name.   

Among Weegee's most famous photographs are "The Critic", "Crowd at Coney Island", and "Their First Murder". But for me, Weegee really nails the human condition in "Life Saving Attempt", 1940. On a crowded Brooklyn beach, during a highly charged moment of life and death, a young lady takes the time to pose and smile for posterity. - PS

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