“The New Generation Offers a Leader”

Yale Joel, [Candidate for Congress, John F. Kennedy, 29, sitting under campaign poster, next to photos of his parents in a room at the Bellevue Hotel during his campaign for MA-Rep for the 11th district], 1946 (1924.2005)


JOHN F. KENNEDY. The 29-year-old son of Joseph P. Kennedy, former U.S. Ambassador to Britain, this month campaigned hotly in Massachusetts’ 11th District, where he is Democratic candidate for Congress and where 50 years ago, his grandfather was a representative. He won nomination last June in a slam-bang fight. A PT-boat skipper during the war, ex-Lieutenant Kennedy was shipwrecked on a Pacific island, won Navy and Marine Corps Medal.
Life, September 30, 1946, p. 40

To celebrate the circus (sometimes scary, sometimes funny) and the gravitas of the current Presidential elections here in America, this is one of a series of blog posts (not in a logical, chronological or alphabetical order) of photographs, made by a variety of photographers – from famous to forgotten, that document the campaigns of politicians and the protests against political leadership around the world. Elections 2016.

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Weegee Wednesday: Weegee and Lee

Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Weegee and Sammy: Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery, November 11, 1946 (41.1985)

Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery. Men – Editors – Duell Sloan and Pearce, November 11, 1946 (46.1985)

Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Wolf Mercur – Jewish Actor and Girl Friend: Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery, November 11, 1946 (40.1985)

Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Servicemen with man with the Daily News: Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery, November 11, 1946 (48.1985)

Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Alexander Hammid and Hans Richter: Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery, November 11, 1946 (52.1985)

On Monday evening, November 11, 1946, to celebrate the publishing of Weegee’s People, a great and often overlooked book, a party was held at Sammy’s Bowery Follies (267 Bowery).

Fortunately and not surprisingly there were a number of photographers (and artists and filmmakers) present. One photographer, working with a Rolleiflex and handheld flash unit, was the great and often overlooked Lee Sievan. (An artist and archivist without a Wikipedia page.) Women’s History Month is the impetus for this two part series of blog posts that feature photos made by Lee Sievan of Weegee and Weegee’s People.

Lee Sievan; Photographer, 82

Lee Sievan, a photographer, died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Tuesday at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. She was 82 years old and lived in Manhattan.

Fifty years ago, Mrs. Sievan began taking pictures to record the career of her husband, the painter Maurice Sievan. She also photographed performers and other artists, including Paul Robeson, Milton Avery and Mark Rothko.

Some of her photographs of New York City in the 1940’s were recently displayed at the International Center for Photography, on Fifth Avenue at 94th Street, where Mrs. Sievan had worked as a librarian and archivist for 15 years. The photographs are now on view at the Museum of the City of New York. New York Times obituary, published on May 3, 1990.

These important photos document the end of the first few chapters of Weegee’s life and his work as a “freelance” crime, police, and news photographer and photojournalist and mark a transition, (within a year or two he would be married and living in Hollywood) and document a celebration filled with pie-eyed and tickled-pink people and nocturnal and tipsy postwar enthusiasm. And they offer some of the earliest evidence of Weegee using a Bolex motion picture movie camera. Lee and everyone in the naked city were Weegee’s People.

Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Book Party – Weegee’s People at Sammy’s on the Bowery, November 11, 1946 (38.1985)

Weegee Wednesday is an occasional series exploring, or just enjoying, the life and work of Weegee.

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A Strangelove of Pi

Anton Bruehl (1900-1982), [Pie Crust], ca. 1940s (817.2000)

Weegee (1899-1968), [Baker with baked goods in City Services Building restaurant, New York], 1945 (14894.1993)

The Building.
The sun pushes its way through the dark canyons of Wall Street to alight on this magnificent mountain of stone and steel…. This is the Sixty Wall Street Tower, third largest skyscraper in the world… owned by the Cities Service Company….
The building has its own restaurant…”
Weegee, Weegee’s People, New York: Essential Books, 1946, ch. 10

John Pfahl, Moonrise over Pie Pan, Capitol Reef National Park, UT, 1977 (433.1984)

Happy Pi Day!
Today is the 14th of March, alternatively March 14 or even 3/14. Not unnaturally, today is also Pi Day. Celebrated by mathematicians all over the world in honor of the number Pi (or π), the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, Pi Day was born at the San Francisco Exploratorium in 1988. Just like the number itself, the ways to celebrate Pi are endless… Happy Pi Day! from Fansinaflashbulb

Weegee (1899-1968), [Cream pie fight in the War Room, on the set of the Stanley Kubrick film “Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964)], 1963

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Weegee Wednesday: “Weegee Lives For His Work And Thinks Before Shooting”


If You Want to Know How Weegee Gets Pictures Like These, See Ralph Steiner’s Story on Next Page

PM Newspaper 1941

Weegee Lives for His Work and Thinks Before Shooting
By Ralph Steiner

Many people have asked me to write a piece about Weegee, the free-lance crime photographer whose pictures and stories appear so often in PM… I can say something about why he is a great photographer, which he certainly is.
His greatness as a crime photographer grows out of three things: First, his willingness to live entirely for his work. Second, his ingenuity in carrying it out. Third, his very intelligent approach to a kind of material which other photographers treat in a routine manner…

And there is the all-important fact that Weegee, unlike the majority of photographers I have met, is a rich personality. You can’t squeeze blood from a stone; nor can an editor squeeze good pictures out of a stony photographer. Weegee moves in a world of violence, brutality, bloodshed and horror, but the pictures he brings up out of it do not depend entirely on the drama of the event. They are good because Weegee adds a little of himself, and a little of Weegee is really something…


It’s typical of Weegee to be first in catching such a harrowing shot of a smash-up victim. He says that when he’s on the job, “it’s as though I was in a daze, or in a movie. By nature I am modest and unassuming. I don’t like crowds and I don’t like blood. But when I’m working, it’s as though I was in a daze.”

PM Newspaper 1941

A picture with somebody in it sells better than a picture of a lifeless object. So Weegee sometimes puts himself in his pictures – shooting them by “remote control.” Here he is posing as a “curious passerby” looking as the body of a Brooklyn murder victim found in a trunk near the Gowanus Canal.

PM Newspaper 1941

Weegee’s room shows his devotion to his job. On top of his regular radio is a police short-wave radio and a loudspeaker attached to it dangles over his bed. On the floor are his special “murder shoes” – at left – and his “snow shoes.” He keeps his “fire shoes” in his car. The wall decorations are examples of is work and certificates of awards for prize-winning pictures. The cardboard boxes at the extreme right are his disorderly “files.” The typewriter is his latest acquisition. He has recently taken up writing – a field in which he shows rather startling talent. We don’t know what the Flit is for.

PM Newspaper 1941

Weegee makes friends readily. On a Chinatown assignment, he got this New Year’s lucky wish from a Chinese girl. He has a photo of her painting it pinned above his bed (see picture next page). It is characteristic of him to have his picture taken this way. The cigar is standard equipment.

PM, March 9, 1941, Vol. 1, No. 38, pp. 28-51

75 Years ago today PM published one of the greatest and most significant four pages, photos by Weegee and words by Ralph Steiner and Weegee, in the history of the printed word.

Weegee’s Comment on His Craft:

“Most photographers always use the same old methods. We’ll assume that a horse-drawn wagon is going over the Williamsburg Bridge. A car hits it and the driver is tossed into the water and gets killed. The other photographers will take a picture of the bridge and then have an artist draw a diagram showing how the guy fell into the water. What I do is go and see what happened to the poor old horse.
“News photographers should not act like they are in the movies. Everyone will be co-operative if you just show a little consideration.
“When I take a picture of a fire, I forget all about the burning building and I go out to the human element. If I see a woman standing by a fire engine and crying, it’s much better than a picture of the building. The building is just a spectacle.
“When a crowd sees a camera they all turn around and say: ‘Go ahead and take the picture, Mister. What paper will it be in and what page will it be on?’ People always think a photographer knows what page a picture will be on. I say ‘Forget about the camera. Editors don’t like posey pictures.’ And I set my camera down. Pretty soon they get bored waiting for the picture and start watching the action. Then I take my picture.
“One time one of the newspapers assigned me to a three-alarm fire… I came back with a picture of a monster whale that had drifted into Sheepshead Bay. I got the whale picture exclusive.
“A photographer should have confidence in himself and if he gets a good idea he should go take it, even if everybody laughs at him.”

Weegee Wednesday is an occasional series exploring, or just enjoying, the life and work of Weegee.

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International Women’s Day 2016

Margaretta K. Mitchell, Ruth Bernhard, 1978 (28.1983)

Ruth Bernhard (1905-2006). Ruth Bernhard lives in the upstairs flat of a narrow white Victorian house in San Francisco. The staircase runs straight to the top, where both long walls are hung with photographs. Ruth Bernhard is a wiry woman with short curly hair, her alert eyes parenthesized by elegant facial lines. Our conversation takes place near the bay window in the front living room. Everything seems to be white-on-white, floor to ceiling, except fir one x gray wall. Against all this whiteness countless natural and handmade objects demand my attention: hanging ferns, a feather, a bone, a fossil, a small bronze nude, a geometric shape in brass and others in glass, a curved gunsight lens. All are arranged on stretches of bright-colored felt for the pleasure of seeing and touching (all, that is, except for the miniature dachshund who insists on keeping a safe distance from visitors Once settled in a chair with a fresh cup of coffee, Ruth Bernhard talks with great ease. Perennially curious about life, Ruth enthusiastically shares her well-formed concepts about making and viewing photographs, about teaching, about her own unfolding as an artist. In her present philosophy of vision and perception she retains the curiosity of childhood. Because of this, our exchange is a cooperative and energetic sharing of ideas and experiences.
Margaretta K. Mitchell: “Recollections: Ten Women of Photography,” 1979, p.30.

Margaretta K. Mitchell, Carlotta M. Corpron, 1978 (29.1983)

Carlotta M. Corpron (1901-1987). The ultramodern Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is an appropriate place to meet Carlotta Corpron, a photographer whose work was ultramodern in its time. She is a tall pale woman with kind blue eyes behind glasses; she walks with an elegant silver-handled cane and is dressed in a black and white staccato print dress. She is amused that the rhythm of the print is reminiscent of the design of one of her photographs. It is a hot, flat drive to Denton, which has been her home for over forty years. There on a quiet tree-shaded street she lives in a single-story clapboard house, where two Siamese cats wait on the front porch. Over a long weekend our dialogue ranges from her childhood in India to the power of light as a creative force. She often speaks of students with whom she became friends and whose careers and families are a part of her own. Her collection of antique Indian brass and small tapestries and a small selection of her own photographs are placed carefully in the room for enjoyment. It is such a restful environment for talk that the time of day is easily forgotten as she traces the story of her life and work.
Margaretta K. Mitchell: “Recollections: Ten Women of Photography,” 1979, p.48.

Margaretta K. Mitchell, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, 1978 (30.1983)

Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895-1989). A flat farm road meets wooded lane in western New jersey and at the end of the lane in a pocket of light farmed by a clearing sits a simple contemporary frame house with a yellow door. Light in the hallway falls on an animated and cheerful pair, the photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe and her husband, the artist Meyer Wolfe. They are a well-designed pair living in beautifully decorated surroundings, a sophisticated combination of rich colors in comfortable spaces. Large windows fame Wolfe’s sculpture, the walls are hung with paintings, and an elegant Oriental screen dominates the living room. It is not surprising that this home belongs to the creator of the style associated with the best days of Harper’s Bazaar. With a laugh she accepts her title of “Queen Louise. ” In conversation she is squarely practical, strong-minded, unflinching, but flexible. In her career she is known for meeting deadlines, demanding the best from everyone around her, and caring about people at the same time. Her talk sparkles with anecdotes about all the famous people who sat before her camera – from her “discovery” cover photograph for Bazaar of Lauren Bacall as a young actress to the poignant portrait of Colette, pen in hand, propped up in bed to write during her last year of life. Over ten years ago Louise Dahl- Wolfe put aside photography as a career. In so-called retirement she has new interests – sewing her own clothes, studying book-binding and French, and now, with the same amazing concentration of energy, printing from her negatives for shows and books, rediscovering photography for herself as she herself is being rediscovered as a photographer.
Margaretta K. Mitchell: “Recollections: Ten Women of Photography,” 1979, p.66.

Margaretta K. Mitchell, Nell Dorr, 1978 (31.1983)

Nell Dorr (1893 or 5 – 1988). The late summer air is still. A meadow of green meets the long driveway of Nell Dorr’s home, a large house made from a barn set against a hillside of pine trees. The valley could be in France or in a fairy tale, but it is, in fact, in western Connecticut. By a fireplace built into the stone wall at the end of the dining room Nell reclines on a sofa, her favorite place to talk. She is dressed in a long yellow Mexican dress embroidered with flowers at the neck and wrists. Her eyes laugh with mischief her gray hair, not yet pinned up for the day, streams over the pillows. This visit is unusual because questions are hardly necessary. We are old friends and she will tell me her story. The atmosphere of this country retreat evokes the in past in many ways: in the slow daily pace, the expanse of the lawn and the old-fashioned scale of the rooms, the family antiques and paintings, the smell of dried flowers. Through a subtle fusion of her work and her life Nell Dorr has always sought simplicity. Her life, like her work, has a timeless quality, the quality of a past period distilled through memory into poetry. Her conversation is impressionistic, her presence compelling.
Margaretta K. Mitchell: “Recollections: Ten Women of Photography,” 1979, p.84.

Photographs and words by Margaretta K. Mitchell. The photographer’s website.

Words are from the exhibition catalog, Recollections: Ten Women of Photography
September 21, 1979 – November 04, 1979. “This exhibition studies the lives of ten women and reveals in each a versatility previously obscured and a greatness not fully recognized. Berenice Abbott, Ruth Bernhard, Carlotta M. Corpron, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Nell Dorr, Toni Frissell, Laura Gilpin, Lotte Jacobi, Consuelo Kanaga, Barbara Morgan. Each photographer is represented by twenty images. Curated by Margaretta K. Mitchell.

Today, March 8, 2016 is International Women’s Day 2016, “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

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Elections 2016: “The Family 1976”


THE FAMILY 1976, By Richard Avedon

Early this year we asked Richard Avedon – one of the world’s greatest photographers – to cover America’s bicentennial presidential election. Our original idea was to publish a chronicle of the campaign – the candidates and the conventions – from beginning to end. Shortly after accepting our commission, Mr. Avedon called to say that there was more to the election than met the eye; that the real story was not simply the candidates, but a broad group of men and women-some of whom we had never heard of before – who constitute the political leadership of America.

Thus began a special issue of ROLLING STONE, collection of 73 portraits. This project was edited by Renata Adler, author of Toward a Radical Middle and the recently published novel Speedboat. Aside from the accompanying Who s Who biographies, there is no text; we think the portraits speak for themselves. Rolling Stone, October 21, 1976, p. 5.

A. Philip Randolph p. 54 and George Meany p.55.

Jimmy Carter p. 56 and Gerald Ford– p. 57.

Katharine Graham p. 60 and Nelson Rockefeller p. 61.

Ronald Reagan p. 70 and Walter Annenberg p. 71.

Bella Abzug p. 74 and Melvin Laird p. 75.

I.F. Stone, Pete Rozelle, Edward Wilson and Daniel Boorstin p. 86 and A.M. Rosenthal p. 87

Richard Avedon (1923-2004), Rolling Stone, “The Family: 1976,” October 21, 1976 (43.2005)

To celebrate the circus (sometimes scary, sometimes funny) and the gravitas of the current Presidential elections here in America, this is one of a series of blog posts (not in a logical, chronological or alphabetical order) of photographs, made by a variety of photographers – from famous to forgotten, that document the campaigns of politicians and the protests against political leadership around the world. (This post, of printed portraits of people from presidents to publishers contains links to Wikipedia pages.) Elections 2016.

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“Freedom for ANGELA DAVIS”

People’s World, Freedom for Angela Davis, March 6, 1971 (2009.18.3)

45 years ago today People’s World published this amazing page spread, in an International Women’s Day Edition, while Angela Davis was in prison. Fortunately, over a year later she was free.

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