Arthur Fellig (Weegee)

Arthur Fellig (Weegee)

Arthur Fellig was born in Zloczew, Poland, in 1899. When Fellig was eleven his family moved to the United States and they settled in New York City. Arthur's father worked as a pushcart vendor and a janitor in a tenement building.

Fellig left school at fourteen to help support his family. His first job was as an assistant to a commercial photographer. He also obtained extra money by taking street portraits.

In 1918 Fellig was employed as a darkroom technician by Ducket & Adler in Lower Manhattan. This is followed by similar work with Acme Newspictures (later absorbed by United Press International Photos).

In 1935 Fellig left his job as a darkroom technician and attempted to make a living as a freelance photographer. By monitoring police and fire-department radio calls Fellig was able to obtain a large number of dramatic photographs. The ability to be the first photographer on the scene of a major incident, resulted in him being given the nickname, Weegee (a reference to the fortune-teller's Ouija board).

Fellig's photographs appeared in nearly all of New York's newspapers including New York Tribune, New York Post, World-Telegram, Daily News, Journal-American, PM and the New York Sun. In 1941 the Photo League put on an exhibition of his work, Weegee: Murder is My Business.

After the publication of his highly successful book, Naked City (1945). Fellig abandoned crime photos and concentrated on advertising assignments for Life, Vogue, Holiday, Look and Fortune. Other books by Fellig included Weegee People (1946), Naked Hollywood (1953) and Weegee by Weegee (1961). Arthur Fellig died on 26th December, 1968.