For an intense decade between 1935 and 1946, Weegee was one of the most relentlessly inventive figures in American photography. Renowned for his ability to be at the scene before anyone else, he dominated the New York landscape. In his own mind, he was the only individual, a cigar wielding visual narrator, who could tell the story of this restless city. From the hard-boiled detective to the meddlesome bandit, the late night booze hounds to the dancing hepcats, the four-alarm blaze or the mangled remains of a car crash: Weegee covered it all.
Born as Ascher Fellig in 1899 near Lemberg, now part of the Ukraine, his family immigrated to New York City in.
Weegee first found fame in 1937 when Life magazine published a story about his work as a crime photographer in New York City. The following year he installed a police radio in his a car allowing him to be the first on the scene. Gaining wide recognition for his work, Weegee joined PM in the summer of 1940. Along with PM, Weegee’s photographs regularly appeared in New York newspapers. Weegee stayed in New York City until his death in the winter of 1968 at the age of 69.
New York was an unforgiving landscape of crimes of passion and gangland murders. The city was a seemingly endless labyrinth of drama and intrigue. “It’s exciting. It’s dangerous. It’s funny. It’s tough. It’s heart breaking.” Weegee was a newsman, and this was his story to tell.
All of the photographs have recently been dicovered in an American archive and 22 of the WEGEE photographs at the Anthony Meyer Gallery will be presented there to the public for the first time.