Jeongik LeeMidterm Writing AssignmentJan 27 2018Alberto McKelligan HernandezTheir First Murder by Weegee (Arthur Felling)Gelatin Silver Print , 25.7cm × 27.9cm (10 ? in × 11 in)Cop Killer by Weegee (Arthur Felling)Gelatin Silver Print, 33.7cm ×26.8cm (13 1/4 in× 10 9/16 in) Weegee’s photography Arthur Felling, as known as Weegee. He is way more distinctive and unusual than any other photographers in modern photographs.
Weegee became very popular because of his very well known photo collection book title Naked City which Weegee tried to capture human beings from different angle. The Naked City is a vivid record of Weegee penetrating New York city with cruel and ruthless eyes. In Weegee’s photobook, The Naked City, the terms of good or love is a luxury word for human being. There is only a principle of fierce competition for survival. Weegee’s photographs shows human being as social animals that follows human instincts when the society’s idea has separated by the theory that human nature is fundamentally good and the theory that human nature is fundamentally evil. Through photographs, Weegee’s human research is the affirmation of the theory that human nature is fundamentally evil. Which means Weegee focused on capture human beings instead of the whole scenes of crime or event, even if he was a press photographer during that time and I believe that certain style of him, often called Weegee Style has effected on his later career and nowadays movie industry’s photograph, too. One of Weegee’s photograph titled Their First Murder which is in Weegee’s photo book titled The Naked City, captured the astonished people’s different reactions to seeing the murder of a gambler in broad daylight.
It is a black and white photography that took at the crime scene. Weegee used flash to changed the scene. He casted the people into flash lights and casted the background into generalized darkness which is very unusual in crime scene photography, or press photography. This photography seems that Weegee was more interested in take photo of the people it affected instead of just photographing crime scene. Because of that, this picture has more contrast on people than the actual place and back ground. For example, the children in the picture are showing very dynamic reactions. There is a girl with very curious eyes, boys who are staring at the camera, and a boy with a significant smile.
Maybe the children were very excited and surprised to see an object in front of them that called a camera. On the other hand, Adults in that picture have very contradictory looks on their faces to compared with the children. There is a lady who is almost crying, and a lady who is looking at the children with very concerned face but there is only dark grey and black shadow of building shape on the background.There is another murder scene photograph of Weegee called Cop Killer. It is also a black and white photography that captured people at the crime scene.
Weegee captured image of a murder suspect with his trademark style which is using flashlight on object, with capturing context, and looking for people with character as capturing their faces. Thereby, Weegee could have gave suspect a very vulnerable look. In addition, Weegee’s sense of humor has reflected on this image by emphasizing the details of the detective’s trench coats and the height chart that appears to emerge from one’s head.As I mentioned, Weegee was a press photographer and he had to take photo as quick as he could. Therefore, he used photo flash lamp that invented at 1930’s.
Reality that exposed by new types of photo flash lamp was very ridiculous and hard to find elegance.To use of flash lamp, Weegee could take photos of exclusive news at anytime, but the flash took the balance, harmony, and unity away which were part of traditional aesthetic factors. But it seems the irony of history did not let him stay as just press photographer. Because of his fame and what he captured on his camera, the society started to consider Weegee as key figure in ‘Social Realism’.Before Weegee, there was a photography group called F.64. This group used certain system called ‘Zone System’ to predict the result of image. To use of this system, they could have created perfect image without any exposure fault or failure with capturing.
For them, Weegee’s photography which has exposure fault or failure with capturing was not succeed art but F.64 had overlooked changes of city, street lives. Everything has started to move fast by that time, because of that reason, photographers could not take photo with ‘Zone System’ on the street of big city such as New York.
However, Weegee’s photography style that could take photo very quick became trend photography style in big city as a street photograph and still many of street photographer follows his style.