“The Famous Weegee, Up Close and Personal”: I review a new biography

“The Famous Weegee, Up Close and Personal”: I review a new biography October 10, 2018

for America magazine:

The pony-photos story encapsulates several of the qualities that made Weegee the king of crime photography and one of the godfathers of noir. Weegee knew photographic technology intimately. He could command the camera and push its limits. In the days when each picture required the photographer to load a fresh glass plate into the boxy camera body, Weegee would spend hours practicing his moves until he had the dexterity to shoot faster than his rivals. He knew how to light a shot for emotion as much as—sometimes more than—factual accuracy. And he knew that if you want to make it big, you have to play to your audience. Weegee’s news photos and his later art photos have their strange obsessions—sleeping people, mannequins, spectators, all in their own way hauntingly exposed and helpless—but above all, in his early, hungry years, he gave the people what they wanted.

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