||Born Usher Fellig on
June 12 in Lemberg (also know as Lvov), Austria (now
Ukraine), to Rachel and Bernard Fellig. Weegee was the
second of seven children. The first four, Elias (1897),
Usher, Rachel, and Phillip, were born in Lemberg. The
youngest three siblings, Molly, Jack, and Yetta, were
born in the United States.
unknown. Weegee's parents - Rachel and
Bernard Fellig, c. 1920s
||Bernard Fellig leaves
Europe for the United States.
||Rest of family arrives
in New York and settles on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Ushers name is changed to Arthur upon arrival.
Bernard Fellig had studied to become a rabbi in Austria.
However, in America, he earned a living as a pushcart
vender, a common source of income for new immigrants on
the Lower East Side. He and his wife also worked as
janitors in a tenement building in exchange for rent.
Fellig always maintained a strong commitment to Judaism,
maintaining the Sabbath even at the peril of the
familys income. Later on in his life, Bernard
Fellig completed his religious studies and became a
||Weegee (he will continue
to be known as Arthur for the next two decades) makes the
decision to leave school to help support his family. His
first job was as a tintype photographer. After several
months, Weegee started assisting a commercial
photographer. After several years of grueling, tedious
work, he quit to begin working as a street portrait
photographer. Equipped with a pony, Weegee photographed
Lower East Side children on weekends, making contact
proofs during the week. This job was short-lived,
however, because of the expense of caring for the pony.
||At the demise of his
pony photography career, Weegee decided to move out of
his family home. He was eighteen and seeking freedom from
his familys strict ways. For a time Weegee was
homeless, and found shelter in missions and public parks,
and Pennsylvania Railroad station. For several years, he
held a variety of jobs including busboy, dishwasher, day
laborer, candy mixer (including a stint as a "hole
puncher" at the Life Saver factory), and biscuit
maker. All the while, he regularly looked for work with a
||Weegee finds a job at
Ducket & Adler photography studio on Grand Street in
Lower Manhattan, where he does variety of studio and
||Applies for and receives
a job as helper in the darkrooms of The New York Times,
and their photo syndicate Wide World Photos. This job was
to last for two years.
1924 to 1927
||Joins Acme Newspictures
(later absorbed by United Press International) as
darkroom technician and printer. While at Acme, fills in
as news photographer.
||Rents a one-room
apartment at 5 Center Market Place, where he lives until
||Leaves Acme to begin a
freelance career. Activities centered around Manhattan
police headquarters. Photographs published by Herald
Tribune, World-Telegram, Daily News, Post,
Journal-American, Sun, and others. (This begins the
period of Weegees most significant work, produced
in New York between 1935 and 1947.)
unknown. Weegee and fellow press photograhers
in front of Police Headquarters, c.1934
||Obtains permission to
install police radio in car. Around this time adopts the
unknown. Weegee at his typewriter in the
trunk of his 1938 'Chevy,' c.1943
||Given special position
by the progressive evening newspaper PM, to create
photo-stories of his choice, or accept assignments from
the newspapers editors.
||"Weegee: Murder is
My Business," exhibition opens at the Photo League,
New York. Weegee begins to experiment with handheld 16 mm
acquired by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and
included in their exhibition, "Action
||Publication of Naked
City (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce; Essential
Books), the first book of Weegees photographs, and
accompanying national publicity tour. Begins
photographing for Vogue.
||Publication of Weegee's
People (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce;
Essential Books). Lectures at The New School for Social
Research, New York. Weegee sells the rights to the title
of his book, Naked City, to Mark Hellinger for a
Hollywood feature film.
||Marries Margaret Atwood,
and late in the year leaves New York for Hollywood to
serve as consultant on film version of Naked City. During
the next several years, worked as a technical consultant
on films and played minor film roles. He also began to
experiment with a variety of lenses and other devices to
begin creating his "distortion" series.
||Release of The Naked
City by Universal Pictures, and Weegee appears for the
first time as an extra in the film, "Every Girl
Should Be Married." His own (and first) film,
Weegee's New York (20 minutes, black and white, 16mm) is
completed. He is represented in the "50 Photographs
by 50 Photographers" exhibition organized by Edward
Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
unknown. Weegee pointing at the poster for
the film Naked City, 1948
||Weegee and Margaret
Atwood are separated, and divorce a year later.
||Produces film Cocktail
Party (5 minutes, black and white, silent, 16mm).
||Returns to New York
after several years of living and working in Hollywood.
Begins a series of distorted portraits of celebrities and
political figures, which he calls caricatures.
||Publication of Naked
Hollywood by Weegee and Mel Harris (New York:
Pellegrini and Cudahy), the first book in which his
distortions are published.
||Distorted portraits are
published in July issue of Vogue.
||Diagnosed with diabetes,
Weegee moves to West 47th Street, the home of Wilma
Wilcox, who remains his companion until his death.
||Consultant for Stanley
Kubrick's film, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Stopped
Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb. Traveled
extensively in Europe until 1968, working for the Daily
Mirror and on a variety of photography, film, lecture,
and book projects.
||Lecture tour in USSR in
conjunction with several exhibitions held here.
Publication of Weegee's Creative Camera (Garden City, New York: Hanover House).
"Weegee: Caricatures of the Great," at
Photokina, Cologne, West Germany.
autobiography, Weegee by Weegee (New York:
unknown. Portrait of Weegee (Arthur Fellig),
c.1956 Inscribed on image: "To all my
||Exhibition at Photokina,
Cologne, West Germany.
||Publication of Weegee's
Creative Photography (London: Ward, Lock, and Co.).
||Makes film The Idiot
Box (5 minutes, black and white, sound 16mm).
||Weegee dies in New York
on December 26, at the age of 69.