Saturday, August 02, 2008


Originally uploaded by Paul Grand
Whilst visiting Montpellier, here in the south of France yesterday,
I came across a huge Weegee exhibition at the Pavilion.
Inside they have a mock-up of Weegee's famous car boot developing studio!

For more info, here's a short history from the net:

Fellig's nickname was a phonetic rendering of Ouija, due to his frequent arrival at scenes only minutes after crimes, fires or other emergencies were reported to authorities. He is said to have named himself Weegee

He is best known as a candid news photographer whose stark black-and-white shots documented street life in New York City. Weegee's photos of crime scenes, car-wreck victims in pools of their own blood, overcrowded urban beaches and various grotesques are still shocking .

He maintained a complete darkroom in the trunk of his car, to expedite getting his free-lance product to the newspapers. Weegee worked mostly at night; he listened closely to broadcasts and often beat authorities to the scene.

He had no formal photographic training but was a self-taught photographer and relentless self-promoter. He is sometimes said not to have had any knowledge of the New York art photography scene; but in 1943 the Museum of Modern Art included several of his photos in an exhibition. He was later included in another MoMA show organized by Edward Steichen, and he lectured at the New School for Social Research. He also undertook advertising and editorial assignments for Life and Vogue magazines, among others.

His acclaimed first book collection of photographs, Naked City (1945), became the inspiration for a major 1948 movie The Naked City, and later the title of a naturalistic television police drama series and a band led by the New York experimental musician John Zorn.

Weegee also made short 16mm films beginning in 1941 and worked with and in Hollywood from 1946 to the early 1960s, both as an actor and a consultant. He was an uncredited special effects consultant credited still photographer for Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film Dr. Strangelove His accent was one of the influences for the accent of the title character in the film, played by Peter Sellers.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Weegee experimented with panoramic photographs, photo distortions and photography through prisms. He made a famous photograph of Marilyn Monroe in which her face is grotesquely distorted yet still recognizable. For the 1950 movie The Yellow Cab Man, Weegee contributed a sequence in which automobile traffic is wildly distorted; he is credited for this as "Weegee" in the film's opening credits.


Borealnz (Jill) said...

It was great to learn more about someone I wasn't familiar with -thanks Paul!

paulgrand said...

Pleasure, Jill!

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