With his big, flash-popping Speed Graphic, the cigar-chomping photographer became a fixture of the New York night. Drawn to the grotesque and illicit, he created high-contrast black-and-white shots of grisly crime scenes, fires, and car crashes and of New Yorkers at pleasure spots and grim scenes. He transformed these frequently bloody classics of photojournalism into an art form, one that influenced such later figures as Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, and Andy Warhol.
Weegee became known to a larger audience with his 1945 best seller Naked City, which includes his own text. He later worked as a Hollywood movie consultant (1947–52), experimented with portraits shot with distorting lenses, and made three short films (1948, c.1950, and 1965). An archive of his photographs and negatives is at the International Center of Photography, New York City.
See his memoir, Weegee on Weegee (1961); his other collections, Weegee's People (1946, repr. 1985), Naked Hollywood (1953, repr. 1975), Weegee's New York Photographs, 1935–1960 (1984, repr. 2000), and The Village (1989); J. Coplans, ed., Weegee: Naked New York (1997); A. Talmey, ed., Weegee (1997); M. Barth et al., Weegee's World (1997), and K. W. Purcell, Weegee: Arthur Fellig (2004).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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