Friday, January 12, 2007

People-watching, ala Weegee ...

I am an ensurient people-watcher!

I'm also a fan of the photographer, the late Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee.

Weegee's claim to fame was a multi-decade history of stark and earthy reportage, often dark and gruesome, showing such things as auto accidents, shooting victims, fires and those out on the street due to them.

However, Weegee was also known for his "society" photos, of the self-appointed glitterati and of the truly rich and famous, often with an incongruous or ironic twist. (Google "weegee the critic" for a good example.)

Weegee's style for both was the same, stark black and white (this was the 1930s to the 1950s), detailed, grain-free, harsh flash, and fixed focus, 6 feet, 10 feet, 20 feet. He would set the focus, then position himself to be at the correct distance, backwards in practice.

His most memorable quote, advice for getting good photographs, was "f/16 and be there." His nickname, Weegee, came from a news agency, referring to the Ouija board and his uncanny ability to anticipate where and when news was going to happen and yes, to be there.

But anyway, if you enjoy people-watching, one great annual event at which to do so is the Nebraska Aids Project's Night Of 1000 Stars gala. This will typically draw several thousand, and although it's a black-tie affair, each year will have a particular twist or theme, this year, Hollywood. It's a lot of fun and for a very good cause!

This year I attempted to capture some of the Stars, just caught in the act of being themselves, in the style of Weegee. No, I didn't carry a huge press camera. I used a small 35mm with a very potent shoe-mount flash. I could easily slip them both into my purse and resume mingling and socializing.

"Charlie" and "Marilyn"

The expression on the video guy's face is priceless!

He realized that I was composing on him just before I clicked. :)

Big sax, huh? :)

One image I wanted to capture, but didn't was one guy whose hair looked so much like that of Dilbert's boss. I kind of slinked around a couple times trying to get a good vantage point, but I really couldn't without being too obvious. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You never see great black & white anymore.