“If You Want a New Hobby, Try Caterpillars… … At Home You Can Watch Them Turn Into Butterflies Like These”
Words and photos by Margaret Bourke-White
We just stumbled on this classic post:
There were a number of attempts by Weegee to make the famous Coney Island photo…
Here are some of them:
Weegee’s photos of the crowd at Coney Island, presumably made on July 21, 1940 (perhaps in chronological order)…
The number of variants, or number of exposures, or photos that Weegee made of the same scene is something that interests us a great deal. The version of this photo that was published in PM on July 22, 1940, is not the same photo that appears in the all of the Weegee books, from Naked City to Weegee’s World… A prominent photo agency (Corbis) has a number of variations on their web site…
An early “version” of, or attempt at, this photo was published in PM on June 17, 1940, in a trial or test version of the paper, a day before PM started publishing, a day before Volume one, Number one…
PM, June 21, 1940 (drawings by Mervin Jules)
“20,000 Homeless Crowd Parks”
“In Union Square Park scores of men, with no beds of their own, sleep, talk, think. Inscription above them reads: ‘How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of and which no other people enjoy.'”
“This policeman is examining the crushed-eggshell wreck of an automobile which crashed into an abutment at Henry Hudson Parkway and 72nd St., seriously injured two persons this morning. PM hears that there has been persistent agitation to correct this dangerous curve, responsible for many accidents; will try to find out if anything is being done to eliminate the hazard. Conrad H. Lowell, 44 and Alexandria Lowell, 44, 360 East 55th St., are in Roosevelt hospital as a result of this latest smash – C.M.”
Perhaps the first Weegee photo in PM (excluding the preview issues)…
This photo is republished in PM on July 21, 1940:
“I also hated automobile accidents, but about those I did something. There was a real death trap on the West Side Highway at Seventy-second Street. Cars would hit the abutments, and some would come crashing down into the streets below. I made a series of pictures of the accidents there, and the newspaper PM ran a whole page and started a campaign. Finaly, the city put red lights on the unmarked abutments, and the accidents stopped. This work I consider my memorial.” Weegee by Weegee, pp. 68-69
Your Rush for Vol. 1 No.1 Delighted PM
… We’re Sorry If You Couldn’t Get One
We went to press on time. The presses didn’t break down. We printed nearly 200,000 more papers than we had planned to for any day in the first few months of production. And still we failed to supply either newsdealers or subscribers all the copies they asked for.
In Times Square they had to call out the cops, but they arrived too late. An insistent crush of newsdealers ganged past a PM route man, divvied up his papers and ran before the cops could get there. At William and Wall, a route man gave 25 copies to a wrinkled old woman vendor. In three minutes she had disposed of every one, at prices that jumped from the original nickel to a half dollar for the last one. It made her cry a little “I never made so much money so fast,” she wept. Fifteen minutes after the first bundles were dropped elsewhere in the financial district, the newsstands had to stick up signs: “PM Sold Out.”
The most injured newsie in town was the fellow at Flatbush and Sixth avenues, about a block from the PM plant. At 2:30 he was still re-routing customers down the street to try their luck at PM’s own office.
We extend our apologies for not having made a better provision for this enormously encouraging interest in us. We are particularly unhappy for having missed delivery to some of those good people who encouraged us by subscribing in advance of publication, sight unseen.
If you are one of those, please write to us. We have saved copies for you.
“About to start his mural for the Museum of Modern Art, Orozco divides panels into blocks.
Orozco never draws a completed sketch on his walls, never makes a full-size cartoon. Above shows him studying his design (Dive and Bomber Tank) and contemplating the wall. The public is invited to watch him work.”
PM, June 19, 1940
PM, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 1940
Modern Art Museum
Gets Fresco Mural
It took the Museum of Modern Art to add spice to the Art Season last May when it rolled three freight cars and 20 centuries of Mexican art into Manhattan. No sooner had the pepper got off the public’s tongue than the art chefs decided to provide a bit of dessert.
Yesterday came the announcement that Mexican Mura1ist Jose Clemente Orozco, no stranger in these parts, had been coaxed to leave one wall that engaged him in Mexico, and tackle another wall on the third floor of the Museum of Modern Art.
Planned as an extra feature to the Mexican exhibition, the public will be permitted to watch for the next few weeks the technique of true fresco develop under the hand of a master.
A Mural Is Born
For a month, soft-voiced, dark-skinned Orozco has been cooped up behind bare walls of a mid-town hotel, fiddling with designs. Finally, scratches of electric-charged forms and volumes evolved on a small sheet of ordinary drawing paper.
The completed work, called Dive Bomber and Tank, will try to convey the essence of war destruction.
Unlike most of the walls Orozco has worked on, the Museum’s are divided into six removable panels which can be sent on tour to other cities. Three feet wide by nine feet high, each plaster slab weighs 500 pounds. It took Orozco and his assistant, Lewis Rubinstein, three weeks to prepare the plaster before painting could be started. Using permanent colors mixed in water, working on a wet section every day – cross-wise fashion from top left to right – Orozco hopes to get the job finished by mid-July.
The Museum of Modern Art’s portable mural will be Orozco’s fourth in the U. S. A. Others are in Manhattan’s New School for Social Research, Pomona College, at Claremont, Cal. and Dartmouth College.
Orozco is one of the few Mexican painters who have not studied in Europe. Eager to be an architect, he didn’t get around to his art until 1909, when he was 26. Intolerant even then of the pretty, sun-lit school of painting, Orozco expressed his contempt by painting prostitutes, night life, used dark, lurid colors. To this day he has never painted a landscape.
As the result of encountering some Mexican dynamite when he was 17, Orozco has no left hand, is partly deaf, and wears thick glasses. Peering through them, he says:
“I paint the today feeling. Anything made with passion, interest will last.”- E. S.