TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 

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  History of photography

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History of photography
 
 
 
Weegee /Arthur Fellig/
 

Weegee was the pseudonym of Arthur Fellig (June 12, 1899 - December 26, 1968), an American photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography.
Weegee was born Usher Fellig in Złoczew, near Lemberg, Austrian-Galicia (later known as Złoczˇw, Poland, and now Zolochiv, Ukraine). His name was changed to Arthur when he came with his family to live in New York in 1909, fleeing anti-semitism.
Fellig's nickname was a phonetic rendering of Ouija, due to his frequent arrival at scenes only minutes after crimes, fires or other emergencies were reported to authorities. He is variously said to have named himself Weegee, or to have been named by either the girls at Acme or by a police officer.
He is best known as a candid news photographer whose stark black-and-white shots documented street life in New York City. Weegee's photos of crime scenes, car-wreck victims in pools of their own blood, overcrowded urban beaches and various grotesques are still shocking, though some, like the juxtaposition of society grandes dames in ermines and tiaras and a glowering street woman at the Metropolitan Opera (The Critic, 1943), turned out to have been staged.
In 1938, Fellig was the only New York newspaper reporter with a permit to have a portable police-band shortwave radio. He maintained a complete darkroom in the trunk of his car, to expedite getting his free-lance product to the newspapers. Weegee worked mostly at night; he listened closely to broadcasts and often beat authorities to the scene.
Most of his notable photographs were taken with very basic press photographer equipment and methods of the era, a 4x5 Speed Graphic camera preset at f/16, @ 1/200 of a second with flashbulbs and a set focus distance of ten feet. He had no formal photographic training but was a self-taught photographer and relentless self-promoter. He is sometimes said not to have had any knowledge of the New York art photography scene; but in 1943 the Museum of Modern Art included several of his photos in an exhibition. He was later included in another MoMA show organized by Edward Steichen, and he lectured at the New School for Social Research. He also undertook advertising and editorial assignments for Life and Vogue magazines, among others.
His acclaimed first book collection of photographs, Naked City (1945), became the inspiration for a major 1948 movie The Naked City, and later the title of a pioneering realistic television police drama series and a band led by the New York experimental musician John Zorn.
Weegee also made short 16mm films beginning in 1941 and worked with and in Hollywood from 1946 to the early 1960s, both as an actor and a consultant. He was an uncredited special effects consultant and credited still photographer for Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. His accent was one of the influences for the accent of the title character in the film, played by Peter Sellers.
In the 1950s and 60s, Weegee experimented with panoramic photographs, photo distortions and photography through prisms. He made a famous photograph of Marilyn Monroe in which her face is grotesquely distorted yet still recognizable. For the 1950 movie The Yellow Cab Man, Weegee contributed a sequence in which automobile traffic is wildly distorted; he is credited for this as "Weegee" in the film's opening credits. He also traveled widely in Europe in the 1960s, and took advantage of the liberal atmosphere in Europe to photograph nude subjects.

 
 
 

Their First Murder (1941)
 


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Summer, The Lower East Side, 1937
 


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The Gay Deceiver, 1939
 


Lovers
 


Simply Add Boiling Water



Heatspell, 1938
 


Crowd at Coney Island, 1940
 


Two Offenders in the Paddy Wagon
 


New Year's Eve at Sammy's-on -the-Bowery, 1943
 


The Critic, 1943
 


Woman with Broken Umbrella
 


Easter Sunday in Harlem, 1940
 


Entertainers at Sammy's-on-the-Bowery

 
 

Tenement fire, Harlem, 1942
 


Mending, Coney Island, 1940
 


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Booked on suspicion of killing a policeman, 1939
 


The Cannon Act, 1952
 


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At a concert in Harlem, 1948
 


Rehearsal, Metropolitan Opera, 1943
 


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Couple in Voodoo Trance
 


Some of the lost kids in the Lost Children Shelter
 


Cinderella Ball
 


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Circus Audience
 


Woman Signing Autographs in Car



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Top hat
 


Transvestite in a police van, 1941
 


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Caretakers, Madison Square Garden, 1944
 


Ambulance, 1943
 


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Tenement fire, 1945
 


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Arrested for bribing basketball players, 1942
 


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