The other day, Flavorwire, one of my favorite pop culture sites, posted a most anticipated art exhibits of 2012 list. In it, they mentioned a photographer I never heard of: WeeGee, or Arthur Fellig.
WeeGee was a press photographer in the 30s and 40’s who documented life and death in New York City. He never shied from photo-taking at crime scenes and made sure to get the most dramatic photos possible (even if it meant staging the photo, as seen with ‘The Fashionable People’ three photos down). According to Wikipedia, WeeGee carried a dark room in his trunk and worked out of nightclubs to ensure his promptness.
WeeGee’s gritty photography quickly earned him acclaim and in the mid 40’s, his work was shown at MOMA, and he released his first book of photography. Later on, he even was honored by the great acting talents of Joe Pesci, who loosely played WeeGee in the film The Public Eye.
What do you think of WeeGee’s work? Do you think it’s exploitative or do you find it an important documentation of history?