At night In the 30s, 40s and 50s, Arthur Fellig, could be found, on the streets of New York, photographing murder. He called himself Weegee and each night would take his speed graphic camera and take to the streets of New York City to photograph car accidents, tenement fires, the victims of mob hits and the crowds that would come to gawk at the lurid drama.
Weegee, who often arrived at crime scenes before the police sold his crime scene photographs to the many daily newspapers in new york city at the time. His keen ability to capture the drama and spectacle of urban violence made him one of the pioneers of tabloid journalism. Weegee also cultivated an image for himself among cops and gangsters alike, with his fedora pulled down over his forehead and his trademark cigar hanging from his mouth, he became an unforgettable character of the underbelly he obsessively documented.
A new exhibition at the International Center of Photography, called Weegee: Murder is My Business, examines the first decade of Weegee’s career as a crime scene photographer on the streets of New York. The exhibition has all the requisite images of blood splattered crime scenes you’d expect from a man who dubbed himself the “official photographer of Murder Inc.” But the show put’s these pictures in the larger context of Weegee the man, and includes a partial reconstruction of the studio apartment Weegee rented across the street from police headquarters.
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