In Naked City, his first publication, Weegee’s eye for surprising juxtapositions and the details of city life is in full force in the images chosen and their inventive, playful sequencing, all narrated in the photographer’s own distinctive voice.
Weegee, born Usher Fellig (1899–1968), started working in 1935 as a freelance news photographer specializing in nighttime scenes. He lived opposite police headquarters, installed a police radio in his car and had a knack for being the first on the scene (supposedly earning his nickname for this nearly psychic tendency). In addition to selling photos to local and national publications, Weegee published them in several books, including Naked City (1945), Weegee’s People (1946) and Naked Hollywood (1953).
The best known, Weegee’s New York (1948), presents a surprisingly lyrical view of the city without a hint of crime or murder. Already this film gives evidence, here very restrained, of Weegee’s interest in technical tricks: blur, speeded up or slowed-down film, a lens that makes the city’s streets curve as if cars are driving over a rainbow. – The New York Times