Weegee's Naked City


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About the Author

Weegee was born Usher Fellig on June 12, 1899 in the Austrian Poland town of Lemburg (now part of Ukraine). He first worked as a photographer at age fourteen, three years after his family emigrated to the United States, where his first name was changed to the more American-sounding Arthur. Self-taught, he held many other photography-related jobs before gaining regular employment at a photography studio in lower Manhattan in 1918. This led to work at a variety of newspapers until, in 1935, he became a freelance news photographer. He focused his practice around police headquarters and in 1938 obtained permission to install a police radio in his car. This allowed him to take the first and most sensational photographs of news events and offer them for sale to publications such as the Herald Tribune, Daily News, Post, The Sun, and PM Weekly, among others. Weegee published his photographs in several books, including Naked City (1945), Weegee's People (1946), and Naked Hollywood (1953). Christopher Bonanos is the author of Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous, which won the 2018 National Book Critics' Circle award for best biography of the year, and Instant: The Story of Polaroid. He is also the city editor at New York Magazine, where he writes about arts and culture. Christopher George is the Imaging Associate in the Exhibitions Department of the International Center of Photography, the world's leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture. George, ICP's Weegee specialist, has scanned some 20,000 Weegee photographs from its archive. He selected photos for the 2016 exhibition Weegee's Bowery at ICP's gallery at Mana Contemporary and was a researcher and co-contributor to the book The Weegee Guide to New York (2014). A prolific content creator, George was written more than six hundred blog posts for Fans in a Flashbulb, ICP's Collections blog.


slick new reprint...-- "New York Magazine"
It's history, entertainment and art in one bleeding, naked, lurid and introspective package, the whole range of life visible to one flawed, unflinching artist.--Pat Padua "Spectrum Culture"
Photographer Weegee would spend his nights roaming the city, documenting its secrets, subcultures and forgotten inhabitants.--Sara Rosen "Huck"
A loner and an outlier, Weegee took news snaps of people on the margins - which went on to influence photographers after his death. A new reissue of his classic photobook Naked City reveals the extraordinary power of his images.--Oliver Lunn "BBC: Culture"
Little blasts of burning magnesium provide the incandescent force that reveals the nakedness of his book's title. Thumb through its amber-toned images of bar drunks, tenement sleepers, lip-locked lovers, paddy wagon-bound criminals, and various other denizens of Gotham's demimonde and see how such figures are compelled to emerge from the dark only by Weegee's flash, their visages suddenly and starkly illuminated for posterity.--Ed Halter "4 Columns"
The renowned Ukrainian photographer's raucous take on New York was buzzy, alive and totally unexpected. As this book of images first released in 1945 shows, he saw the beauty of the city, even in its most debauched, disorderly moments.--Emily Gosling "Elephant"

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