Weegee’s Los Angeles :: His Other Naked City

Daniel House

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Never heard of Weegee? if not, you have likely seen his work at some point over the years. He was prominent from the late ’30s and into the early ’50s, and is known primarily for his gritty New York City shots from lower east side crime scenes. Looking at his photos it’s easy to imagine that his style no doubt influenced film noir. A new post in the New York Times, entitled Weegee’s Other Naked City, looks into the  lesser-known Los Angeles photographs the  tabloid photojournalist Arthur Fellig  took.

In 1938, he was the only New York newspaper photographer with a permit to have a police-band shortwave radio. Using the police broadcasts, he often beat the police and firefighters to the scene’s thus getting some of the rawest urban imagery for which he is best known. He had a full darkroom setup in the trunk of his car, allowing him to turn around his photos in record time.

Weegee's Gold Stripper

MOCA L.A. is currently showing approximately 200 of his photographs taken after 1947, the year that he moved from New York City to Los Angeles. The show is called Naked Hollywood, and is on display until the end of February, 2012.

L.A. City Hall by Weegee

There is a brand new book collecting many of these photos called Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles and is available from Amazon at a good discount.

Check out “Weegee’s World” at: https://museum.icp.org/museum/collections/special/weegee/

1968 NY Times article re: Weegee’s death in 1968: https://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/73758206

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