Archive

Tag Archives: 1950


“An Old Faded Photograph”; Rex Griffin; Decca (5269 B); Publication date: March 2, 1936

In a “special feature presentation of the American Art Festival, the symposium on photography,” in the “first annual American Art Festival,” about a dozen photographers answered and discussed the perennial question, “What Is Modern Photography?” It was held at MoMA and broadcast on WNYC, on either October 20th or 30th, 1950.

An audio recording is here:

NYC Municipal Archives

and/or

wnyc.org

It was moderated by Edward Steichen, “Director of the Department of Photography MOMA.” The “top ranking” photographers who were present (Margaret Bourke-White, Walker Evans, Gjon Mili, Lisette Model, too frightened to read her own words, so they were read by Steichen, Wright Morris, Homer Page, Irving Penn, Ben Shahn, Charles Sheeler, and Aaron Siskind) spoke in alphabetical order, for about five minutes. Steichen talked about or quoted several photographers who were not present: Harry Callahan, Louis Faurer, Frederick Sommer, Weegee, and Edward Weston.


“Your Photograph Is All I Have (While Somebody Else Has You)”; Ralph Haines; Hoffman; Romeo (1138-B); October 1929

At 1:16:39 into the panel discussion, after (the deadly serious) Siskind and before (the deathly ill) Weston, Capt. Steichen speaks about then reads some of Weegee’s words:

…Our remaining guests are among those not present. I can’t resist bringing in the fabulous Weegee. Who is the first press photographer to move from the field of spot news reporting and become a photographic commentator. Where his original and major claims to fame were police and fire pictures their stands recorded in Weegee’s two books, Naked City and Weegee’s People a fantastic procession of human foibles and emotion. If photography did not have Weegee in the United States of America we would surely have to invent him.

And I’ve picked out some quotes from some of Weegee’s sayings:

To me a photograph is a page from life, and that being the case, it must be real. Don’t forget about anything and everything else to be human. Think. Feel. When you find yourself beginning to feel a bond between yourself and the people you photograph, when you laugh and cry with their laughter and tears, you will know you’re on the right track.

One doesn’t just go up to strange men, women, children, elephants, or giraffes and say “look this way please, laugh, cry, show some emotion or go to sleep underneath a funeral canopy,” they would have called me crazy and called the cops, who would have called the wagon with the guys in white and I would have wound up in the psychopathic ward in Bellevue Hospital in a straight jacket.

[My or Press?] Pictures are different. The photographer must be on the scene at the split second of occurrence. Here’s my formula: Dealing as I do with human beings and I find them wonderful. I leave them alone, I let them be themselves, holding hands with the love light in their eyes, sleeping, or merely walking down the street. The trick is to be where people are. All one needs to do is to be on the spot, alert, and human. I think the secret is knowing what you want. I worked for years then there were no more gangsters, no really good murders, so I got a job with Vogue doing fashion photography. [Laughter]. They always sent a girl along to make sure I didn’t steal the silverware. [Laughter.] So I got tired of fashion and so I went to Hollywood. I’ve appeared in five pictures as a street photographer. The greatest bit of casting since Lassie.” [Much laughter and applause]…


Lassie, Unidentified Photographer.


“A Faded Photograph”; Whispering Jack Smith; Charles Kenny; Nick Kenny; Richard Howard; Decca (3437 B); September 13, 1940


(Trailer for “The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)


(Trailer for “The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)


(Trailer for “The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)


(Trailer for “The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)


(Trailer for “The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)


(Trailer for “The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)


(Trailer for “The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot. Similar introduction to “The Naked City.”)


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot. Deserted Times Square.)


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot. Spoiler alert: portrait photographer helps solve the crime; nice camera in background.)


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshot)

Entirely irrelevant to the focus of this blog… but shockingly relevant to real life, New York now…


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshots)

“The Killer That Stalked New York” (1950) maybe it’s not the best movie ever made… But there’s something for everyone: Vaccinations! Press cameras! Hand washing! Cool science photos! And there’s “shot-on-the-spot realism!”


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshots. Even the mayor gets vaccinated.)


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshots… 20 seconds forever…)


(“The Killer That Stalked New York” screenshots… Yes! It’s…)


The Killer That Stalked New York

‘Killer That Stalked New York,’ About a Diamond Smuggler, Opens at Palace Theatre

By Bosley Crowther

January 5, 1951

An interesting complicating factor is introduced into a routine hunt for a pretty young diamond smuggler in Columbia’s “The Killer That Stalked New York.” This factor is merely that the lady has smallpox, which she has brought into the country along with the gems, and, without knowing what she has, she is spreading it while remaining a fugitive in New York.The peril, of course, is obvious—as it literally was a few years ago when an actual smallpox carrier brought the dread disease to this city. And it is in a pictorial demonstration of the scope and the health problem of this peril that the one virtue of this picture, now at the Palace, resides.By bringing his cameras to New York and filming realistic hospital scenes, mass vaccinations and local details. Director Earl McEvoy has achieved a respectable simulation of the anxiety of a community when confronted with a possible plague. And he has managed to get some fascination into the desperate devices by which the health authorities, headed by a young physician, attempt to pinpoint the fatal carrier.But, unfortunately, the script of Harry Essex, based on a factual magazine piece, has a bad tendency to ramble and to confuse two separate hunts. And the performances of the principal characters, while adequate, have little punch. Evelyn Keyes, as the fugitive smallpox carrier, manifests great discomfort and distress, but she is no more than a melodramatic cipher in a loosely organized “chase.” William Bishop is blankly youthful as the physician and Charles Korvin is conventional as the lady’s no-good husband who tries to give her the brush. Others are moderately effective in a potentially but not sufficiently intriguing film.

“What Is Modern Photography?” on wnyc.org

We posted this five years ago:

What is Modern Photography?

The great WNYC radio news blog posted an audio recording of a fascinating panel discussion, The 1950 WNYC American Art Festival, broadcast October 30, 1950. It was moderated by Edward Steichen. The photographers who were present (Margaret Bourke-White, Waker Evans, Gjon Mili, Lisette Model (too frightened to read her own words, so they were read by Steichen), Wright Morris, Homer Page, Irving Penn, Ben Shahn, Charles Sheeler, and Aaron Siskind) spoke in alphabetical order for about five minutes. Steichen talked about or quoted several photographers who were not present (Harry Callahan, Louis Faurer, Frederick Sommer, Weegee, Edward Weston). It’s unfortunate that Weegee wasn’t there. Nevertheless Steichen speaks of him fondly and Weegee’s more-or-less at the same table with the rest of the art photography gang…

It can be heard here:

At 30:20 minutes into the panel discussion, after (the deadly serious) Siskind and before (the deathly ill) Weston, Capt. Steichen speaks about then reads some of Weegee’s words… (here they are transcribed)

“…Our remaining guests are among those not present. I can’t resist bringing in the fabulous Weegee.
Who is the first press photographer to move from the field of spot news reporting and become a photographic commentator. Where his original and major claims to fame were police and fire pictures their stands recorded in Weegee’s two books, Naked City and Weegee’s People a fantastic procession of human foibles and emotion. If photography did not have Weegee in the United States of America we would surely have to invent him. I’ve picked out some quotes from some of Weegee’s sayings:

‘To me a photograph is a page from life, and that being the case, it must be real.’
‘Don’t forget about anything and everything else to be human, think, feel. When you find yourself beginning to feel a bond between yourself and the people you photograph, when you laugh and cry with their laughter and tears, you will know you’re on the right track.’
‘One doesn’t just go up to strange men, women, children, elephants or giraffes and say look this way please, laugh, cry, show some emotion or go to sleep underneath a funeral canopy’, they would have called me crazy and called the cops who would have called the wagon with the guys in white and I would have wound up in the psychopathic ward in Bellevue Hospital in a straight jacket.’
‘[My or Press?] Pictures are different. The photographer must be on the scene at the split second of occurrence. Here’s my formula: Dealing as I do with human beings and I find them wonderful. I leave them alone, I let them be themselves, holding hands with the love light in their eyes, sleeping, or merely walking down the street. The trick is to be where people are. All one needs to do is to be on the spot, alert, and human. I think the secret is knowing what you want. I worked for years then there were no more gangsters, no really good murders, so I got a job with Vogue doing fashion photography. (laughter). They always send a girl along to make sure I didn’t steal the silverware. (laughter) So i got tired of fashion and so I went to Hollywood. I’ve appeared in five pictures as a street photographer. The greatest bit of casting since Lassie.” (much, much laughter and applause)…


Lassie, Unidentified Photographer…