Sunday, January 1, 2012

Weegee In Los Angeles (Pacific Standard Time #7)

My seventh Pacific Standard Time visit was to MOCA Grand Ave yesterday, New Year's Eve.  It was one of those quick hour and a half visits because every LA institution closed at 3pm on the last day of the year.  I got there around 130pm just enough to ingest what the photographer Weegee (Usher Fellig) produced in his 4 years (1947-1951) in Los Angeles.  What the exhibit gave me more than anything is an appreciation for what we have today in compared to life in the late 40s.  Some quick thoughts as I was going from gallery to gallery:
1) Has there ever been a photographer who worked in Los Angeles who didn't take pictures of celebrities?  Bet Weegee would have done the Kardashians if he were alive today.
2) I wonder how Weegee would have appreciated Photoshop?  Several galleries showed his analog manipulation of images to produce more interesting composites except he used a variety of techniques primarily special lenses, filters, etc.
3) Whatever happened to all those men's magazines from the 50s?  The print sizes of those rags were such that they fit in a man's inside jacket pocket, somewhere between the size of an iPad and an iPhone.
4) I need to get a copy of Weegee's New York (1948) -- a movie that was shown but restored to opening day quality.
5) I still find it a real stretch to consider tabloid photography as art.  It's like saying TMZ is eligible for a Pulitzer prize.  Either way, who am I to decide what is or isn't art.
6) Now, I'm really curious how his work before and after working in LA looked like.  It would be interesting to contrast his work and see if it got better or worse.  Working in LA has that effect on anybody who has spent any extended period of time here.  Could be the filthy air or dirty sex or abundance of celebrities or some combination thereof.

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