Gritty photographer Arthur Fellig – better known under the alias Weegee – made a name for himself by documenting the harsh reality of crime, injury and death while covering New York City from the 1930s
Gritty photographer Arthur Fellig – better known under the alias Weegee – made a name for himself by documenting the harsh reality of crime, injury and death while covering New York City from the 1930s.
See the girl smiling? thats her boyfriend laying on the floor.
Weegee would follow the city’s emergency services and listen to police radio – which was his secret to getting to a scene first.
Weegee, who passed away in 1968, wasn’t afraid or intimidated to take a controversial shot. Here is an image of the wreckage of a horrible crash between a cab and a truck that collided on 39th Street in New York City circa 1941.
Many of Weegee’s photographs, like this shot of a corpse being examined while lying on a New York City sidewalk in 1941.
Weegee tapped into the public’s innate curiosity to see all things death and destruction. Here, the famous photographer gets a shot of passerby looking at a 65-year-old man who was struck by a taxi on the Bowery in 1942.
Macabre was Weegee’s specialty. Case in point, the photographer took this shot of an American prisoner strapped into a chair in a gas chamber as he is sentenced to death. The prisoner’s black hood carries a Westinghouse Electric Company logo.
In this particularly gruesome image, a fireman attempts to put out the flames of a burning truck but is too late to save the driver. Many of Weegee’s shocking photos, like this one, can be found at the International Center of Photography.
Not all Weegee’s shots were morbid, however. Some were just plain comical. Here, a group converges around a passed out drunk outside a New York restaurant circa 1945.
Weegee worked for many news publications, including the New York Daily News, during his crime photography heydey. Here, he captures police trying to tend to an injured and bloody man as he lays immobile on a woman’s lap.
Weegee was unique not only in the photos he took, but in the way he worked. For instance, the photographer would drive himself to a crime scene, take pictures and then develop his film in a makeshift darkroom he created in the trunk of his car. Here, he snaps a drunken man surrounded by spilled alcohol on a New York City sidewalk.
If there was a disturbance in the city, Weegee would make it his business to be there. Here, a woman is photographed being carried by police into an ambulance circa 1930.
The man, who preferred to be known as Weegee The Famous, captures the scene of a terrible car accident in this shot. Looking closely, it is possible to notice mens shoes lying on the ground.
A curious passerby peers into the trunk which held the body of a well dressed man who had been stabbed to death in Brooklyn. Trunk and body were found near the Gowanus Canal, and police believe the murderers were interrupted as they prepared to dump their victim into the river. New York Post, August 5, 1936.