July 25, 2002 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Murder is my business. Arthur Fellig, aka Weegee the Famous was a photographer in the 1930s and 40s. With the help of a police scanner, which he kept in his car, he was often able to get to crime scenes before the police. His subjects were varied, from dark crime scene photos to Coney Island, to social commentary. Listen to a biography, or look at some photos. or just revel in his connection to Doctor Strangelove.?
posted by interrobang (10 comments total)
Weegee is king! Jude Law's character in the very badly written (but decently acted) Road to Perdition was a sort of Evil Weegee. Wasn't there a film where an English actor played a sort of Weegee-like crime photographer who developed and changed film in a "darkroom" in his car's trunk? What movie am I thinking of? Check out his imdb bio - apparently he even worked as a special effects advisor to Kubrick on Strangelove.
posted by luriete at 11:23 AM on July 25, 2002

I'm an idjit.
posted by luriete at 11:24 AM on July 25, 2002

Police scanners? In the 30s and 40s?
posted by websavvy at 11:26 AM on July 25, 2002

Police scanners? In the 30s and 40s?
Well, he had a police radio in his car.
"He started to work out of Manhattan Police Headquarters; he would arrive around midnight and check the Teletype machine to see if any stories had broke. After a few years he decided he didn't want to wait for the news to come over the Teletype. He bought himself a 1938 Chevy Coupe and a press card, and he was allowed to have a police radio in the car (the only press photographer ever allowed to have a police radio in their car). "
--from a bio of Weegee at the Chrysler Museum of Art
It's how he got his nickname, Weegee as in Ouija board.
posted by rorschach at 11:46 AM on July 25, 2002

Probably just a "police band radio". Luriete, do you mean The Public Eye [IMDB] with Joe Pesci?
posted by dhartung at 11:48 AM on July 25, 2002

Also see the work of Mell Kirkpatrick, the "West Coast Weegee" who also photographed crime scenes, car wrecks and unique construction views of Disneyland. Fascinating guy.
posted by mediareport at 11:56 AM on July 25, 2002

Thanks, Dhartung, that's the one! Joe Pesci is certainly not English, don't know where that came from. Maybe he reminds me of Ian Holm. Did anyone see the Weegee exhibit in the lobby of the NYPD administration building back in the late 90s? They had a lot of large prints made, I assume, from original negatives. Nice stuff.
posted by luriete at 12:06 PM on July 25, 2002

another resource in the same vein is a book called 'death scenes - a homicide detectives handbook' edited by jack huddleston and sean tejaratchi with an intro by kathrine dunn (geek love).
it's a collection of photos and notes by a homicide detective in los angeles from the '30's to the '50's, and it's pretty grim, stark, oddly compelling stuff.
(i'll refrain from linking to the place where we all know it can be found, chances are good that your local bookstore has it or can get it).
posted by dolface at 12:14 PM on July 25, 2002

nice post. (i'm just sayin'.)

[this is good]
posted by fishfucker at 12:29 PM on July 25, 2002

Uh, that would be "Mell Kilpatrick."
posted by mediareport at 2:01 PM on July 25, 2002

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