Weegee, like most geniuses, was born at the right time and place. The cultural, social, technological, political (William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson were some of the U.S. Presidents and William J. Gaynor, Jimmy Walker, Fiorello H. La Guardia, Robert F. Wagner, Jr., John Lindsay were some of the Mayors of New York City during Weegee’s lifetime – thanks Wikipedia) events, changes and innovations that occurred in the first half of the 20th century made Weegee’s work possible. Throughout his life Weegee was fully engaged in politics and culture (as is evident, in part, by the large quantity of experimental “distortions” and far out caricatures made in the last two decades of his life). In the 60s, and in his 60s, one way that Weegee was engaged in politics, contemporary youth culture, and language, was with his collection of groovy buttons, most likely bought in Greenwich Village or Times Square. Perhaps as an experiment and in the spirit of fun, some buttons were used in, or on, photographs taped to corrugated cardboard, as below, and some were rephotographed and incorporated in photo-montages. (Were these photo-objects: works-in-progress and unfinished experiments? Or finished works of art to be displayed in a museum?) The above is a short animation, repeated three times, of Weegee’s buttons.
Weegee Wednesdays is an occasional series exploring, or just enjoying, the life and work of Weegee.