(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Weegee

“To me, pictures are like blintzes – ya gotta get ‘em while they’re hot”*…

 

Sure. I’d like to live regular. Go home to a good looking wife, a hot dinner, and a husky kid. But I guess I got film in my blood. I love this racket. It’s exciting. It’s dangerous. It’s funny. It’s tough. It’s heartbreaking.  

-Weegee

Weegee wanted his pictures to show some humanity. He walked back about a hundred feet. Set up his camera. Used flash powder and Kazam! There was the whole scene. The corpse. The blood. The cops. The balcony seat of people looking out to see what had just happened. Drama. Humanity. Crime.

Weegee came out of Złoczów now part of the Ukraine. He was born Arthur Fellig in June 1899. He emigrated with his family. They landed New York 1909. Lived in the Lower East Side. His father was a hatmaker and part-time rabbi. Weegee took whatever work came. He became a janitor. Got the nickname “Squeegee Boy.” He hung around with the bums on the Bowery. Started taking photographs. First passport pictures, then commercial work. At the age of thirty-five, he upped his game, quit commercial work, became a freelance news photographer.

He went out nights, hung around the police station waiting for the stories to come in over the teletype. Off he went taking pictures of murders, fires, fender benders, wacko kids on their way to juvie hall. He spent two years with no accreditation following the police all around town. In 1938, the cops gave him his own police radio. Weegee could tune in and pick up on what was happening. Most times he got to the crime scene before the cops. The cops thought he must be psychic. This gave rise to the apocryphal story his nickname was the phonetic spelling of “Ouija.” Weegee added a darkroom to the trunk of his car. He took his picture, developed it at the scene, put his print on the back, and sold it to the papers. During his ten years at police headquarters, Weegee said he must have photographed 5,000 murders—“at least one murder every night.”…

More of the story– and more examples of the extraordinary work– at “Through a Lens, Darkly: Weegee’s Photographs of Death and Disaster.”

For more of Weegee in his own words: “Altering life by holding it still”*…

* Weegee

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As we snap it up, we might send pacific birthday greetings to Mildred Lisette Norman; she was born on this date in 1908.  Better known by the descriptor she gave herself, “Peace Pilgrim,” she was a non-denominational spiritual teacher, mystic, pacifist, vegetarian activist, and peace activist.  In 1952, she became the first woman to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in one season; she then walked across the United States to speak with anyone she encountered about peace– and journey that lasted for 7 cross-country round-trips over 28 years.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 18, 2017 at 1:01 am

Gotham…

In the late 1940’s, before he found fame as a filmmaker, a teen-aged Stanley Kubrick worked as a photographer for Look Magazine, shooting around Manhattan (and often working alongside Arthur Fellig, aka Weegee).  The Museum of the City of New York has over 8,000 of his photos in their collection– at once a window on post-war New York and an early peek at the aesthetic that we’d all come to recognize in Dr. Strangelove and Clockwork Orange (and, if less directly, in 2001 and The Shining).

Read the backstory (and see more snaps) at Gothamist, here and here.

Kubrick in his days as a photographer for LOOK

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As we mutter “redrum,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1905 that Henry James returned to the United States for the first time in 25 years.  The son of theologian Henry James, Sr. and brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James. James was raised on both sides of the Atlantic.  After finishing Harvard Law School (and deciding that he preferred writing fiction to legal briefs), he left the U.S. for France, where he lived briefly, then the U.K., where he settled and wrote the  works on which his reputation rests: Daisy Miller (1879), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), What Maisie Knew (1897), The Turn of the Screw (1898), The Wings of the Dove (1902), and The Ambassadors.  After his return, James worked mainly on the “New York Edition” of his works and on his autobiography.

James’ work was a break from the Romantic tradition embodied in the novels of Dickens and Thackeray; indeed, with William Dean Howells, George Eliot, and Stephen Crane, he pioneered the Realist novel.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 30, 2013 at 1:01 am

“Altering life by holding it still”*…

 

The first of a series of multimedia essays on photography and photojournalism; quoth Leica…

Building on their shared history, Magnum and Leica agreed to collaborate on a series of projects that continue their longstanding dedication to independent documentary photography. Beginning in the spring of 2011, Leica will sponsor the creation of a series of independently-produced multimedia essays that will highlight the personal journeys and insatiable curiosity of Magnum photographers. The stories will be published at the homepages of Magnum Photos, LFI Magazine, and Leica.

And for readers who are inspired, some riveting advice from the extraordinary Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, the photo-documentarian of the underside of New York life in the 30s, 40s, and 50s…

* “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still”- Dorothea Lange

 

As we adjust our f-stops, we might recall that it was on this date in 1947 that player-manager Mel Ott of the (then New York) Giants hit his 511th and final career home run.  Ott, the first National League player to hit 500 home runs, managed the Giants from 1942-48, during which stretch the Giant’s best finish was 3rd place.  It was in refeence to Ott’s easy-going stewardship of the Giants that then-Dodgers manager Leo Durocher made his oft-quoted (albeit somewhat out-of-context) remark, “Nice guys finish last!”

Baseball card on which Ott struck an uncharacteristically-fierce pose (source)

 

 

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