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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 Usher 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,
1924–2019, Swiss-American photographer and filmmaker, b. Zürich. He immigrated to the United States in 1947 and became a citizen in 1963. One of the 20th century's most influential photographers, Frank pioneered the "snapshot aesthetic," in which the
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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., he is regarded by some as the most important artist of his era.
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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 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).


See Felling, Arthur.
References in periodicals archive ?
We will have an introduction to Wee Gee's photography on Oct.
Ang Wee Gee, executive director & CEO, international, of Keppel Land International Ltd.
Sometimes it's a slog and the squad can require a wee gee up.
For it seemed not the work of an artist versed in post-Conceptualism, but of a documentarian--a more subculturally directed Robert Frank, a subtler Wee Gee. Although intensely beautiful, the images were disguised by their settings' unfamiliarity and sexual heat.