Monday, March 19, 2012

"Weegee: Murder is My Business" at ICP

I was excited to see Weegee's Murder is My Business at the International Center for Photography especially after visiting the MOCA exhibition of Weegee's work in Hollywood. The above is my only personal image of the visit photographed while drinking a limeade at the small cafe after viewing the show. All other photographs below were gleaned from the Internet. Directly behind the sign above was a reconstruction of Weegee's studio and living quarters. It was based off a photograph hanging nearby. Cigars were in the ashtrays, there was a tiny Corona typewriter, and Life magazines were spread over the twin bed.

Image via.

Weegee, Self-Portrait with Bomb
[Image via.]

Weegee liked to pose with raided loot and this picture made me laugh at the spectacle of this action. The bomb looked like a napkin dispenser with a flashlight adhered to it.

There was a beautiful display of his Speed Graphic camera with flash bulbs that I cannot find any photographic representation of online. Another favorite object was a check for "two murders" in 1939 in the amount of $35.

I was amazed at how many of the crimes that he photographed remained unsolved. Trunk in which slain man was found from 1939 was one of the most gruesome. William Hessler was "trussed in a self-strangulation knot and stabbed 48 times with an icepick" read the title card. It was displayed as a triptych: two images of the body in the trunk and one outside it (but still in the same general shape as the trunk).

Like MOCA in Los Angeles, there were large vinyl photographs displayed on the walls but they weren't as dominant as the Hollywood exhibition. The images of crowds remain a favorite as he managed to capture a full range of emotions including children witnessing their first murder, a Times Square group after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the return celebration of the kidnapped Jimmy DiMaggio in the Lower East Side.

I've seen more of Weegee than I ever have in my life. Hmm... time to purchase a catalog?

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