Murder Under the 3rd Avenue El (Weegee the Famous)

Dimensions135 cm x 150 cm x 15 cm
Materials Sandblasted glass, resin painted aluminum, wood

Weegee was New York, a character straight out of the fiction of Damon Runyon. Born Usher Fellig in 1899, he came to the U.S., a jewish immigrant from the Ukraine in 1909. Once in New York he changed his first name to Arthur. Starting as a street photographer he took photos of children on the lower east side on a pony he purchased.

In the 1920’s he went to work as a darkroom technician for the Acme News Agency where he probably acquired his nickname from “squeegee boy” a reference to the tool used to remove liquid from print surfaces. In 1935 he went out on his own as a freelance photographer. Working at night with a police band radio he specialized in photos of crime and murder selling his photos to the tabloid press. Besides the police radio the things that allowed him to be so quick with getting his shots were pre-setting his Speed Graphic camera to f22 for shots at a six foot distance or f16 for ten foot and having a mobile developing set-up in the trunk of his car. Weegee was legendary in New York, never without his cigar, he was known for his audacity in touting himself and his nocturnal life style.

This sculpture mixes images from two photographic sources “Under the 3rd Avenue EL” and the “Murder of Little Joe Cava”. The Image of Weegee himself continues my torn photo series and devises his portrait from four separate images altered to make the composite.