Thursday, October 3, 2013

Weegee's World by Weegee, essays by Miles Barth, Alain Bergala and Ellen Handy.

Weegee's World by Weegee, essays by Miles Barth, Alain Bergala and Ellen Handy.  Paperback book published by Bulfinch 2000, 262 pages with black and white photographs.


I was aware of Weegee and his work long before I found this awesome book.  I seem to remember having flicked through a number of volumes containing Weegee images, many, many years ago… So many years ago that I can’t remember any details about the experience at all, other than thinking what an amazing photographer he was.  Looking through this book, my opinion hasn’t changed.  This guy had a skill and art that enabled him to capture moments that are normally lost to time and place.  These moments cover the whole spectrum of emotions and are truely beautiful in all there sadness, happiness, darkness and light… and combinations thereof.

(Apologies for some of the blurry edges.)

Weegee whose real name was Arthur Fellig, was a New York press photographer during the 1930s and 40s.  He got the name Weegee (Weegee is a simpler way of spelling Ouija, as in Ouija board) due to his uncanny ability to be in places where the action was happening long before most had realised that any action was happening at all.  I guess people found this to be a bit spooky.  What I think is interesting is that these situations must at times have been very stressful and needed quick thinking, yet his photographs appear to be carefully staged and thought through.  Looking at some of these images he probably only had a few seconds to get the shot.  Amazing.

The guy had a talent which I guess is why he has gone from being a humble press photographer photographing the news, to a highly respected 20th century icon whose snapshots have gone on to become icons in themselves.  Finding a book like this is a real joy and something I wish I found more of.  I’ll keep looking.

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