Thursday, July 22, 2010

Weegee's New York

A few years ago I bought this book of Weegee's photographs of New York on a whim. I'm not sure why, not because his work isn't great, but because this is more of a postcard book than a nice photo book, which is probably what I should have held out for. (Maybe I'll upgrade one of these days.) Regardless, it contains some classic images.

Weegee was the pseudonym of a photographer working in the Lower East Side in the 30s and 40s, who got his name because he seemed to have an almost clairvoyant knowledge of when and where a crime, fire, or accident would occur, arriving on the scene mere minutes after anything had been reported to the authorities. His photographs largely depict the seedier side of life, of people in the back of a paddywagon, drunks, car wrecks, and murder victims.

He also photographed the upper crust, but in such a way as to convey a somewhat sinister or unflattering quality.

I love this one, of a cab and what I can only guess is part of a Macy's parade float--two otherwise innocuous elements, but together they look terrifying, like a giant monstrous hand is reaching down to grab the car, the driver desperately speeding away.

This of course is the best one by far. The bagel man coming out of the shadows, bringing the morning delivery. A beautiful sight (even though the lighting is a bit creepy).

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