America’s First Crime Scene Photographer

April 18, 2014

In the 1930’s and 40’s, a Ukrainian photographer by the name of Arthur Fellig made a living photographing crime scenes for New York City area newspapers. He gained his nickname “Weegee”from the phonetic version of the ouija board because of his seemingly clairvoyant ability to arrive at a crime scene just minutes after it occurred. Weegee even had a darkroom set up in the trunk of his car to shorten the amount of time it took for the photos to be submitted to the newspapers and in 1938, he was the only private citizen that was issued a permit for a portable police-band shortwave radio to aid him in seeking out scenes to photograph. Along with his crime scene photos, Weegee also had an extensive portfolio of candid street photography taken in Manhattan with many images of celebrities and high society types.

text written by Canbra Hodsdon