Images I’d hang on my wall No1 – WeeGee (Arthur Fellig) ‘Simply Add Boiling Water’

APRIL 2019

Here’s an image by the American photographer WeeGee, who was famous for beating the police to crime scenes. This isn’t, as far as I know a crime scene…it just makes me laugh!

WeeGee: ‘Simply Add Boiling Water’ Taken December 1943. Copyright International Centre of Photography.

The fire occurred at the American Kitchen Products Co. building, next to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Copies can be obtained from the J.Paul Getty Museum…I’d love to have one. The text online with this image says ” Weegee’s dramatic high contrast print nevertheless subtly reveals the tones of the building’s facade at night. Glaring white ambulance lights, lamplight, and chutes of water from a fire truck mix with the ghostly glow of fire and steam. Using a combination of flashbulbs, and by some accounts flash powder, Weegee generated enough light to capture this scene.”

Well the exposure is obviously fairly long and I think a car headlight pointing towards the scene would have provided enough ‘fill’ light here, even with his Speed Graphic 4×5 camera.

There’s a 1939 photo showing Weegee perched on the front of his flat photographing the morning lineup at New York City Police Department …as the headquarters was directly across the street. He used a radio tuned to the police to discover where the latest killings were and made a living selling gory images to the New York papers.


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