Skid Row

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Weegee, Skid Row, ca. 1951

Weegee crisscrossed the country in 1950, promoting a movie called The Sleeping City (directed by George Sherman, “Danger Stalks the Silent Streets in…The Sleeping City,” Universal Pictures, 1950). When Weegee returned to California, he created this book. If Skid Row had been published it would have been Weegee’s third book (after Naked City and Weegee’s People, but before Naked Hollywood). The only texts are Weegee’s sometimes humorous comments or titles.

Unlike Naked City, Skid Row ends with people sleeping, and an image called “Port of Dreams, New Orleans.” In New York, in 1953, Mel Harris edited the same, or very similar, images into Naked Hollywood.

Both Skid Row and Naked Hollywood include author/artist photos of Weegee (perhaps not a great editor of his own photos) with many of his photographs. The first image in Skid Row is Weegee buried under hundreds of his prints; with an arm affectionately around a mass of prints. On the back of the book jacket of Naked Hollywood is a photo by Robert Parent, of Weegee and Mel Harris with prints carpeting and covering every available surface, including the floor, several chairs, and a table. Weegee and Mel Harris look serious, perhaps a bit tired and overwhelmed by the quantity of images. They can’t move without stepping on prints.

Skid Row is incomplete because unfortunately many of the photographs, taped to book pages with black masking tape, have been removed and reused.

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