by Horatio Baltz in New Photography on Friday 28 October 2011

Weegee’s harrowing images of life and death in 1930s New York were given added depth after I listened to his recording on the 1958 record “Famous Photographers Tell How“. Weegee describes his techniques, divulges charming anecdotes, and makes some truly illuminating metaphors about his style of picture making. He describes what he said to a captured jewel thief to convince her to pose for a picture.

‘You have your choice. Do you want your picture to appear in the papers, a rose gallery picture with your number underneath it? Or, would you let me make a nice home portrait study of you using nice, soft lighting like Rembrandt would have done?’ But I feel his most poignant advice goes to the budding photographer: ‘Go out and photograph strangers. I know you’re afraid to do it at first, I was scared stiff myself, but you have to do it’.

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