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Book details
  • Genre:BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  • SubGenre:Artists, Architects, Photographers
  • Language:English
  • Pages:122
  • eBook ISBN:9780989671408

Weegee: The Autobiography (Annotated)

by Weegee

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Overview
The new Devault-Graves Digital Editions version of Weegee: The Autobiography contains a wealth of new material for readers. Included are: extensive annotations and endnotes, an original Afterword by author and critic Ed Ward, a bibliography of Weegee’s photography books, a guide for further study on works about Weegee, and a guide for further study of books by and about other neorealist photographers such as Diane Arbus.
Description
Weegee not only captured the gritty underbelly of New York City in his explosive photographs, but he lived it as well. This long out-of-print autobiography, brought back as an ebook with complete and unabridged text by Devault-Graves Digital Editions, was written toward the end of Weegee’s life before he was the photographic legend he is today. Here he tells the story of how an impoverished Jewish immigrant named Arthur Fellig from Zlothev, Austria, came to grips with one of the toughest cities in the world and made it his own. In wisecracking prose that is a match for his unblinking ferocity behind the camera, Weegee recounts his days of taking tintypes of kids on ponies and how this knowledge of the streets and neighborhoods of New York led to him being the first on the scene of the city’s every murder, disaster, and heartbreak. In Weegee: The Autobiography the author candidly and without reserve tells readers about documenting the grisly street executions by Murder, Inc., tenements up in flames, child killers, lovers in the back rows of movie theaters, and the sexual misadventures of streetwalkers, pimps, and transsexuals, all in a voice that had seen it all and loved it all. Fans of Weegee’s photography will not want to miss his story—told in the way only Weegee himself could tell. The new Devault-Graves Digital Editions version of Weegee: The Autobiography contains a wealth of new material for readers. Included are: extensive annotations and endnotes, an original Afterword by author and critic Ed Ward, a bibliography of Weegee’s photography books, a guide for further study on works about Weegee, and a guide for further study of books by and about other neorealist photographers such as Diane Arbus.
About the author
Arthur Fellig, named Weegee by the girls after the Ouija board craze (spelling by Weegee, who else?), was brought to the United States when he was 10, and was raised in the tenements of the Lower East Side of New York. When still a youngster, he bought his first camera, and with a pony, suitably called “Hypo,” made the rounds of the neighborhood taking pictures of children on Saturdays and Sundays. Later, he worked as a candy butcher, as a bus boy in the Automat, and as a helper in a passport photo studio. His real career started when, living in the darkroom at Acme Newspictures, he used to rush out to cover spot news with his camera. A non-conformist from the day he was born, Weegee became famous while still a freelance photographer covering Manhattan Police Headquarters. (Ultimately, he covered so many sensational crimes that he became known as the official photographer of Murder, Inc.; the “boys” often tipped him off when and where im-portant gang killings would take place.) When he discovered that his pictures of the city and its denizens in their 1,001 activities could move people to laughter or to tenderness, the die was cast. Photography would be his life work. Without money, without education, except for that which he picked up on the run, he had made himself indispensable to the press, as the man who always got the pictures. Now his quick, fertile mind teemed with ideas on how to get into the very personality of his subjects. To photograph people without their masks became his goal. The camera must be human in his hands. Even in those early days he stamped his photographs: “CREDIT BY WEEGEE THE FAMOUS.” Advised to wait until the world should recognize him, he replied that he was in too much of a HURRY (caps by Weegee). He worked twenty out of every twenty-four hours each day, and resented even the few hours he had to give to sleep. When recognition came at last, and the world saw that this man who needed no studio could get in a flash what others toiled to achieve, the crime photographer turned his back on the old days. Now he devoted his uncanny talents to society photography, to advertising photography, to special effects motion pic¬ture photography—always photography. In 1945 he gave birth to his book Naked City, which Hollywood turned into a movie. “The days of knocking my head against a wall were over.” He followed that book with Naked Hollywood, then with travels abroad, and with the invention of trick lenses and clever techniques that enabled him to develop his famous photo-caricatures. Always he sought to extend his horizons, and to deepen his knowledge of people. Always he has been himself, scorning the conventional, with only contempt for the stay-at-homes . . . Weegee is the last of the giants of photography’s roisterous adolescence.
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