Weegee vs. CC

Photography is not a competition.
Or, maybe it is…
I don’t know.


Weegee, from Weegee’s World, 1997, p.230


PM, June 28, 1943, p 15

When the Big Top Comes to Times Square
“Minnie the bear, who appears with her husband Bill in Larry Sunbrock’s Big Top Circus, knows when payday is – and gets in line early.”
“This is the ‘Big Top’ – first three-ring circus tent to be pitched in Manhattan for 100 years – in a former parking [lot back of the Roxy?]”
“‘Miss Victory,’ Eglie Zacchini, is shot out of a cannon at a speed of 360 feet a second. Weegee got this unusually difficult picture at a performance using a telephoto lens at 1/1000th of a second.”


Cornell Capa, “Young woman being shot out of a cannon as a human cannonball at a circus in Texas, 1947,” from Cornell Capa Photographs

7. Human cannonball, Texas, 1947.
Protected by an asbestos suit, twenty-six-year-old Egle Zacchini, a daughter of the great family of human cannonballs, is shot from a cannon. The challenge for me arose from the fact that because of the difference in the speeds of sound and of light, I would miss my picture if I snapped my shutter exactly when I heard the bang. Instead, I had to guess at what fraction of a second after the charge was set off the performer would fly out of the barrel. It was an exercise in frustration, and I had to try three times in three different cities before I finally managed to get the shot reproduced here.” Cornell Capa Photographs, Edited by Cornell Capa and Richard Whelan, 1992






The Zacchinis
A lively Italian-American family earns living being shot from canons”
Photos by Cornell Capa… words by John Kobler
LIFE, April 26, 1948, pp. 111-116

3 points for CC, Egle Zacchini, is the correct spelling.
Minus 3 points for PM and Weegee, Eglie Zacchini is not the correct spelling.
Weegee photographed ‘Miss Victory,’ Ms. Zacchini, first, five years before CC, plus four points.
Weegee and CC made “unusually difficult pictures,” plus 50 points for both photographers.
Silly bear caption, plus 1.5 points.
CC’s “great family of human cannonballs,” plus 150 points.
Weegee’s three circus photos were an entire page in PM, plus 10 points.
CC’s photos, about seven, were in Life… plus 15 points.
Weegee’s photo was made in NYC, plus 5 points.
CC’s photo was made in Texas, minus 5 points. (WTF? – editor’s note.)
CC’s honesty and humility about having to try three times… plus 100 points.
Quality and variety of CC’s photos… plus 200 points.

Round one goes to Cornell Capa!


Screenshot from getty images, three photos by Herbert Gehr of Larry Sunbrock’s Big Top Circus… (The Roxy, 153 West 50th St., between 6th and 7th Aves.)

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