The New York Times, May 30, 2018
This day in Weegee history… Great review of a great book…
On February 17, 2013, three years ago today, we posted this instant classic blog post… We must have been using our Ouija board since coloring collections is now a thing…
A Weegee Coloring Book! (Black and white and red all over…) For children of all ages…
A joke: We might have a book deal… ka-ching! (Kidding;-)
Coming soon… (to a fantasy near me…) This is almost better than the Complete Weegee in PM book we were peddling several years ago…
(How these were made: one of our photographers photographed a page from Weegee’s World, converted it to grayscale, then in Photoshop, used the sketch – photocopy filter…)
Images are from the book Paparazzi! Photographers, Stars and Artists, a catalogue for the exhibition (February 26 to June 9, 2014) at the Centre Pompidou-Metz, published by Centre Pompidou-Metz and Flammarion.
“Centre Pompidou-Metz dedicates an unprecedented exhibition to the phenomenon and aesthetic of paparazzi photography through more than 600 works (photography, painting, video, sculpture, installation, etc.).
Covering fifty years of celebrities caught in the lens, Paparazzi! Photographers, stars and artists considers the paparazzo at work by examining the complex and fascinating ties that form between photographer and photographed, going on to reveal the paparazzi influence on fashion photography.
By associating some of the genre’s leading names, including Ron Galella, Pascal Rostain and Bruno Mouron, Tazio Secchiaroli, with reflections on this modern-day myth by Richard Avedon, Raymond Depardon, William Klein, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol, Paparazzi! Photographers, stars and artists sets out to define the paparazzi aesthetic.”
From the Centre Pompidou-Metz website…
Weegee was obviously not a Paparazzi, if the definition of Paparazzi is: “a freelance photographer who pursues celebrities to get photographs of them.” And Paparazzi is “mid 20th century: from Italian, from the name of a character in Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita (1960).” (Google definition)
There are obvious similarities between Weegee’s photos of alleged criminals hiding their faces and photos of contemporary celebrities hiding their faces. Early in Weegee’s career he used a few Paparazzi-like tricks to photograph a few alleged criminals… With one or two exceptions, like kissing Dorothy Hart, Weegee was pretty tame towards celebrities. Weegee made caricatures of celebrities, he didn’t doggedly pursue them in real life…
“Seated in the chair was the handcuffed burglar. The minute he saw me, he covered up. Out of the side of his mouth, he said. “I don’t want my picture took!” (Such grammar!) But this guy was a hardened criminal and knew his rights. The cops couldn’t force him to pose for me. I put my camera down on a nearby desk, and said to no one in particular, “I’m going out to get a cup of coffee and a pastrami sandwich.” As I reached the door, I looked back. The guy was uncovered. The flash bulb went off when I pressed the remote control switch in my pocket, and I had my picture. When criminals tried to cover their faces it was a challenge to me. I litereally uncovered not only their faces but their black souls as well.”
Weegee by Weegee, p. 69
“I went into the basement where they were holding the girl [who was arrested for robbery]. As soon as she saw me, she covered up. “I just want to talk to you, lady,” I said. “I won’t take you picture unless I get permission.”
We talked. She wanted to know why she should let me take her picture so her friends could see her on the front pages of the papers. She was no dope, even if she had been caught. I argued with her: “Why don’t you let me take your picture? I’ll make you so glamorous, it’ll land you on the society page. You’ll get a lot of sympathy. Or, would you prefer that I get a rogues’ gallery picture from the cops with a number under it?” That was a lot of hooey, but I finally convinced her that it was the lesser of two evils to pose for me. This being a quiet Sunday night with the papers starved for pictures, I knew that I had a ready sale.”
Weegee by Weegee, pp. 69-70
From the Picture Press, MoMA, 1973
“A major portion of the preliminary picture research was done by the late Diane Arbus and by Carole Kismaric. The quality of the pictures reproduced here is in large measure a tribute to their eyes and understanding…”
Circus and the City: New York, 1793-2010
September 21, 2012 – February 3, 2013
The Bard Graduate Center, 18 West 86th Street, NYC.
Circus and the City: New York, 1793-2010
Published by the Bard Graduate Center, 2012
Distributed by Yale University Press
(Five or six great Weegee circus photos in both…)
Mike Wallace Asks, Simon and Schuster, 1958
A transcript of the “real” interview indicates that perhaps Weegee and Wallace didn’t have a great rapport; didn’t really like each other very much… This printed version is much edited, and is the only interview of about 50, where Wallace asks one question, and the interviewee rambles on for the entire chapter…
Although it’s only a page long, it’s a great page (a few excerpts: edited edits):
WALLACE: Weegee, you used to be the top murder photographer in the country. Why did you quit?
WEEGEE: Murder, Incorporated went out of business. I used to be the official photographer for Murder, Incorporated. I used to have one a night… I advised the boys on taste…
Murder’s not anything anymore. In the old days Murder, Incorporated, had a garage in Brooklyn… they’d teach them the trade, teach them how to shoot and so on. Train ’em like feudal craftsmen. They made a fine art of it. Each murder was better than the one previous.
But murder has gone out of style. It’s a different trend. Everything is organized these days. Instead of fighting with each other, they call a meeting They’re executives. You know what a an executive is? A guy that doesn’t eat in cafeterias. Today, it’s all organization and efficiency. They don’t need an artist like me anymore…. I’ve changed too. I used to go to Sammy’s on the Bowery. I had my own table… The younger generation is making a mockery of the fine art of murder.