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Ascher (Usher) Fellig
BirthplaceZłoczów, Galicia, Austria-Hungary (now Zolochiv, Ukraine)
Known for Street photography of crime scenes or emergencies


pseud. of Arthur Fellig, 1899–1968, American photojournalist, b. Zolochiv, Ukraine (then in Austria-Hungary) as Asher Fellig. His family immigrated (1910) to New York City, where he soon quit school, held various photography-related jobs, and worked for Acme Newspictures (later part of United Press International) until 1935. For the next decade he freelanced, selling photos mainly to New York tabloids. About 1938 he adopted the name Weegee, supposedly a phonetic version of the name of the Ouija board, in tribute to his seemingly clairvoyant ability to arrive where and when news was breaking (he monitored the police radio).

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 FrankFrank, Robert,
1924–, Swiss-American photographer and filmmaker, b. Zurich. He emigrated to the United States in 1947 and became a citizen in 1963. Frank is considered the pioneer of the "snapshot aesthetic," in which the documentary image is rendered bluntly and without
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, Diane ArbusArbus, Diane
, 1923–71, American photographer, b. New York City. For nearly 20 years Arbus operated a successful fashion photography studio with her husband, Allan Arbus.
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, and Andy WarholWarhol, Andy,
1928–87, American artist and filmmaker, b. Pittsburgh as Andrew Warhola. The leading exponent of the pop art movement and one of the most influential artists of the late 20th cent.
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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 autobiography, 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).


See Felling, Arthur.
References in periodicals archive ?
The fair also featured the works of the iconic 20th century press photographer Arthur Fellig or Weegee which presents a historical art of photojournalism.
Weegee, whose real name was Arthur Fellig, was famous for sensational but artfully composed black-and-white pictures of crime scenes, fires and other urban mayhem.
Arthur Fellig, the New York tabloid news photographer far better known as Weegee, was his own greatest artistic creation.
What: Photographs by Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee
Arthur Fellig (1899-1968), better known to his many admirers as "Weegee," spent much of his life as the official photographer of New York by night.
According to legend, Arthur Fellig earned the Weegee nickname during his early career as a freelance press photographer in New York City.
What: Two decades of headline-making news images of the 1930s and '40s from tabloid photographer Arthur Fellig, aka Weegee.
Arthur Fellig took to this work with enthusiasm and flair.
Consider the case of the well-known news photographer Arthur Fellig, known as "Weegee.
Weegee, born Arthur Fellig, was one of photography's most influential photojournalists.
Scene of the Crime: Photo by Weegee, collection of images by crime photographer Arthur Fellig, also known as Weegee, Getty Center, through Jan.
Weegee, a k a Arthur Fellig (1899-1968), was a chronicler of New York street crime and the demimonde of Bowery bars and Times Square burlesque.