Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, and his photography book, Naked City —with its lurid tabloid-style images of Manhattan crime, crowds, and boisterous nightlife—changed prevailing journalistic practices almost overnight. In this volume, two art historians, Anthony W. Lee and Richard Meyer, bring markedly different outlooks on photography and modernism to their discussions of Weegee and his book.
Weegee was a legendary news photographer, whose stock and trade were candid shots of people in the streets, in bars, and at crime scenes. His professional name was Weegee spelled phoneticallyafter the popular fortune-telling game, Ouija board, to which his supposed sixth sense for crime was compared. This "sense" led him to the scene well ahead of the police - although it turns out that he actually had his radio tuned to the police frequency.
Published by University of California Press, Berkeley Seller Rating:. First edition, first printing.
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Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegeewas the proto-paparazzo, introducing wartime America to the pleasures of gawking at crime scenes and misbehaving rich people. The first photojournalist to be granted permission to carry a New York City police radio, Weegee had a murky relationship with accuracy, freely admitting to recreating events, inking puddles of blood or paying drunks to be in his shot. However, Weegee would soon become a minor celeb himself.
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As a freelance photographer of crime, accidents, fires, and also of the recreational life of the city—scenes of violence and of pleasure—Weegee worked mainly at night and employed a powerful photoflash attachment to his press camera. His "secrets of shooting with photoflash" consist of practical technical advice for beginners. But within the rhetoric of his "secrets" there lie cogent and subtle reflections on the relation of light to darkness, especially on the way the flash of light makes darkness visible.