Tag Archives: distortions

“Uncle Josh in a Museum”; Cal Stewart, September 1903

“Smash the Window”; Jolly Tunesmith; Standard (F-14001-A); 1947

“Weegee Warhol Window,” 8/28/2021

“Hanging in The Hock Shop Window”; Kay Lorraine; Harold Grant’s Orchestra; M. Leeds; F. Wise; H. Grant; Standard (T-2097-A)

“EXPERIENCE UNNECESSARY”; Sarah Vaughan; Hugo Peretti And His Orchestra; Shelley; Whitman; Peretti; Creatore; 1955

“Weegee Warhol Window,” 8/28/2021

Weegee in the window, Park Avenue South, beautiful building, five years older than Weegee…

“Window Shopping”; Hank Williams; His Drifting Cowboys; Joseph; MGM (11283-B); 1952

“(How Much Is) That Hound Dog in The Window”; Homer and Jethro; Bob Merrill; RCA Victor (20-5280); March 19, 1953

Hugo Montenegro, Ellington Fantasy, Vik, LX-1106, 1958
“Recorded at Webster Hall, New York City, July 23, 25 and 31, 1957.”
Photo by Weegee.


Conductors and Composers of Popular Orchestral Music: A Biographical and Discographical Sourcebook, by Musiker and Musiker, 1998

Billboard, May 26, 1958

Recreation of Hugo Montenegro’s Ellington Fantasy album with recordings of 78s by Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra:

Black and Tan Fantasy, 1927

Sophisticated Lady, 1940

Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me, 1940

Solitude, 1934

Azure, 1937

Mood Indigo, 1930

Caravan, 1937

In a Sentimental Mood, 1935

I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good, 1941

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, 1947

I Didn’t Know About You, 1944

I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart, 1938

Happy Birthday anniversary to DUKE ELLINGTON…

“I’ve Got a Secret” – April 30, 1958

“…The famous New York photographer Weegee took this lens and put it on his own personal camera and made some very unusual pictures, which I would like to show you now. You must guess who they are.”

November, 1955
“Trick mirrors? Uh-uh!
Plastic surgery on your favorite stars? Nope!
Seeing things? You certainly are!”

“When this guy takes Hollywood apart (and he’s been doing it for years), the movie capital rarely looks the same. So here, for your enjoyment, is a festive Halloween guessing game…
Can you identify the people on these four pages?
Some are easy, but some are tricky. So watch out!
Have fun! And don’t let Weegee fool you!”


Happy Halloween











Screenshots from
According to Wikipedia,’s slogan is: “The leading media company for the Connected Generation and the voice of digital culture.”

A few things that may or may not be true:
“He used several methods to create these ‘distortions,’ including melting copy negatives.” – Perhaps melting copy negatives is not how the distortions were made. We’ve seen thousands of Weegee’s negatives and have never seen melted negatives. In Weegee’s books, Weegee’s Creative Camera and Weegee’s Creative Photography he elaborates in great detail about how the distortions were made…

“For nearly three decades, Arthur Fellig — otherwise known as ‘Weegee’ — ruled the world of Manhattan street photography.” – “Ruled the world of Manhattan street photography” is absurd and meaningless. He was one of many great photographers working in NYC. For nearly a decade (1935-1945), Weegee made great street photos in NYC, would be more accurate…

“The makeshift darkroom in the trunk of his car enabled him to quickly develop his photos and send them off to the tabloids.” – The trunk was more like an office, with a typewriter, not an enlarger, and a closet, with boxes of photo supplies and cigars, etc. Look at the endpapers of Naked City

If is “The leading media company for the Connected Generation and the voice of digital culture” that doesn’t mean it’s an accurate voice…

IMG_5902-2 copy
Cyclops ln modern dress terrifies the world again in a split-image type photo modeled by the author.


If Weegee’s camera turns on you, you may find a familiar-seeming monster in this magazine.


By Weegee

Mirror maze images are tame compared to these weird photo wonders.

PHOTOGRAPHIC distortion has interested me for a long time. It gives me an opportunity to exercise creativeness and interpretation as opposed to photographic reporting and documentation. [That is an amazing sentence.] It makes my camera a personal instrument since the pictures I can take by various processes are far more than a mere representation of a physical scene.
There are many types of distortion possible, ranging from my secret “Elastic Lens” to the mechanical methods used in connection with the enlarging process. I make use of almost all of them. In this series however I am limiting myself to a discussion of four main types of work: the Elastic Lens; the Kaleidoscope; the split image, and the Periscope.
The Elastic Lens is the most versatile of distortion units. It is a secret lens and while I cannot at this time tell how it is made I can speak of some of its properties and uses. The lens is capable of attachment to either any camera or any enlarger with a removable lens. It is substituted for that lens. It can also be used as an attachment…
over the lens of a television camera. By adjustment it is capable of either distorting or wiping any segment of a negative while leaving the rest of the negative in perfect focus. It is adaptable to color film and can be used either -for motion picture or still photography. Thus in movies or television it is possible to follow a group of people down the street and to suddenly give one of the people four legs and two heads while leaving the others in the group perfect. [Why would you want to do that?] In still photography I can for example break up a person into segments and scatter the pieces over the negative in a pleasing pattern. Or I can distort a single feature of a person leaving the rest ofthe picture as is. For example I can give the person four eyes or three arms or two, three or four handbags.
The other methods are not secret and I will describe them in detail. The Kaleidoscope can also be used on either camera or enlarger. The tube consists of either metal or cardboard about two inches wide and about eight inches long. Two mirrors of the same size are fitted into the tube in a V shape. It is important that the mirrors be FRONT SURFACE MIRRORS rather than the normal rear surfaced. The rear surfaced jobs give off ghosts that spoil the photograph. The tube is then placed over the camera lens and a series of shots taken. Before each shot, rotate the kaleidescope to get a different composition. To operate…


No sailor would dally long with this mermaid. Neither the settings nor the Bikini add allure.

in an enlarger, place the kaleidoscope inside the enlarger on top of the enlarging lens. Focus the usual way. By rotating the negative carrier you will get the kaleidoscope effect you want. Be sure however that both ends of the tube are taped so as not to injure either the negative or the enlarging lens. The result of using the kaleidoscope is equivalent to the pictures of a children’s toy scope. The difference is that in the toy only colored beads or sand is used, but in photography real objects placed in pleasing and interesting patterns.
The split image is a purely mechanical effect obtained in the enlarger. The results, however more than justify its use an they are truly creative. The setup is as follows I use the metal container of a ten-yard adhesive tape roll. This is about two inches wide. A mirror is mounted at right angles to the diameter of the case. Its height; should equal the focal length of the enlarg…
ing lens. Thus for the average five-inch lens the mirror should be five inches high; for a three-inch lens a three-inch mirror, etc. The carrier is mounted inside the bellows over the enlarging lens. By moving the negative carrier an infinite variety of distortions are created. In every case a double image is formed but by changing the line of the negative the image may be doubled at any point in the photographic print. While not as versatile as the elastic lens since every portion reflected in the mirror will be doubled, and every portion unreflected will be omitted (the elastic lens can distort one piece out of the whole only) it is quick, easy and can come up with surprising variations. For distorting single objects, of course, it can do a wonderful job. People can be made to move in two directions simultaneously. Heads and bodies can be created that have no torsos, or torsos that have no extremities. Experimentation with this method of distortion can give the photographer a lot of fun and wide versatility in imaginative symbolism. [imaginative symbolism?!?!] I use it a lot in connection with my old news negatives. [my old news negatives!?!?]


The Periscope is the last method which I will discuss. My idea was this. Everyone knows what the eye sees and any camera can record what the lens sees. But there is a third part to any photograph, that is the flash holder. I wanted to know what the holder saw. After all it contributed to the photograph, it should certainly be given an opportunity to express its focus. The setup was simple. I placed a periscope over my lens and ran it behind the flashbulb through the holder. I realized that it would be impossible to photograph while the bulb was exploding since the flash would wipe out all traces of picture. Therefore I had the synchronization reset so that the shutter would click AFTER the bulb, rather than with it. True I would get less light but that could be compensated for. I chose to shoot my subjects therefore in well-lighted places and contented myself with shooting a twenty-fifth after the bulb (a number 5). The results were pretty good. The only problem was the reflections from the curved surface of the holder that leaked around the edges. These I masked out in printing. The bulb came out in fine relief and the subject came through the bulb sharply. It is wise in using this trick to make use only of persons used to being photographed with flash.
One thing more. I have been asked by many friends to give at least a hint about the Elastic Lens. I will say this. The construction, while not identical, is at least similar in principle to the range finder. That is, a series of lenses can be made to move in joint focus over the subject bring any one portion into the range of the distorting element. Any portion of the picture not covered by the entire series of lenses is not under distortion. Thus the focus of distortion can be either spread or limited as lens series is moved in scope.

With Weegee’s help, a magician can emerge from a locked trunk in a different guise.


Playboy, May 1954, Vol.1, No. 6, p. 15

The guy with three eyes is known as Weegee, and he has built a considerable reputation as a photographer of the streets of New York – capturing, on film, the humor, foibles, and tragedy of a big city’s people. The best of these pictures were collected a few years back in a remarkable volume titled Naked City.
Recently Weegee packed up his photographic paraphernalia and took himself a trip to Hollywood. What he brought back was a quite a shock to those familiar with his more realistic camera style. The best of these have been collected in a book titled Naked Hollywood, with captions by Mel Harris, published by Pellegrini and Cudahy. As the samples on this page illustrate, Weegee found Hollywood a very naked place indeed, and just as out-of-this-world as we’d always heard it was.”

(Not Weegee, but not bad…)

November, 1955
“Trick mirrors? Uh-uh!
Plastic surgery on your favorite stars? Nope!
Seeing things? You certainly are!”

“When this guy takes Hollywood apart (and he’s been doing it for years), the movie capital rarely looks the same. So here, for your enjoyment, is a festive Halloween guessing game…
Can you identify the people on these four pages?
Some are easy, but some are tricky. So watch out!
Have fun! And don’t let Weegee fool you!”