Weegee (Arthur Fellig, 1899-1968)
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1942
photograph, gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art

In the late 1930s, New York photojournalist Weegee was the only reporter with a permit for a portable police radio.  With his darkroom in the trunk, he listened closely to broadcasts while he cruised the streets, often arriving first at the scene of a crime. He was hungry for the city’s best stories and worst social issues, which he could quickly capture with his camera at any hour.  His sixth sense for scandal earned him the nickname “Weegee” (all-knowing, like an Ouija board).  His sharp eye gave way to haunting black-and-white images, first published in newspapers and later collected by major art museums.  Even a joyful celebration like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade becomes mysterious under Weegee’s critical cropping and storytelling.  He saw what others missed.