Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Weegee the Technical Assistant 1956 Photographers Showplace Magazine

The Weegee show "Murder is my Business" at the International Center of Photography in New York is certainly a must see, and I thought I would post a little Weegee curiosity to celebrate it. While Weegee is often thought of and portrayed as something of a lone wolf prowling the streets at night with his camera, which is certainly true, he was also a social creature active and involved with the photographic community. He participated in social camera club shoots and had friends who did the same. In addition to the crime and nightlife scenes in the ICP show, he had a successful active and creative role in the places you might not think...including this unusual gig as "technical assistant" to a most unusual photo layout in Photographers Showplace magazine in the December 1956 issue.

Photographer's Showplace was by far one of the most interesting periodicals for the photographic community at the time, it had models and nudes, but was actually serious about it, unlike the large number of "under the counter" publications claiming to be "figure studies" but which were little more than soft-core pornography skirting the law. It was also entertaining without being too technical...serious about the emerging art and craft of modern photography, but light on the jargon.

Here are bits from a painterly picture set. As you see Weegee is credited as "Technical Assistant" although his precise role is not described. Certainly he checked his light meter! Maybe he found the model (identified as Rae Chandler) The artist (the one with the brush) is Ralph Therrien, and the photographer is James Pappas. An unusual collaboration of painting and photography from a time when both arts were experimenting. The layout is extensive, no less than 12 photos are presented, several full-page and in color.

Interestingly, the same issue has a full page spread which claims to be the first published example of Weegee's unusual photographic experiments, abstractions which are referred to as the "Weegeerama Kaleidescope" which is a post for another day.

Though a big fan, I have posted only once here about Weegee, but had fun putting it together. Revisit my piece on the relationship between the photographer and the pin up girl Bettie Page HERE which I am still grateful for being allowed by the ICP to use images from their collection to illustrate.

Images from Photographers Showplace Magazine December 1956, Creative Publications. Collection Jim Linderman

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