Survey 10: Weegee and NYC


Photograph of Weegee

Weegee was an iconic photographer throughout the Great Depression in the US. His main thing was capturing scenes of crime in New York City. He centered 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. During the 1940s, Weegee’s photographs appeared outside the mainstream press and met success there as well.

The Beginning of His Career

Weegee worked at the PM Daily paper which established a new model of reportage that Weegee took full advantage of to introduce new subjects as well as expand his own repertoire of images to include crime scenes, street people, and circus performers. His photographs had their own meaning and served as a source for various kinds of photo-essays, which ultimately appear in his photo book Naked City.

Cover of Weegee’s photobook “Naked City”

Artwork Description & Analysis

In Marilyn Monroe Distortion, Weegee uses a kaleidoscope lens to manipulate a portrait he took of Marilyn Monroe. The distortion scrunches her facial features, making her puckering lips appear smaller, elongating her closed eyes, and turning her nose into a pig’s snout. The iconic beauty is transformed into a caricature.

Marilyn Monroe Distortion

Survey 10: Weegee and NYC

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