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Daniel Soar: The Photographic Novel

20 April 2006
Patrick’s Alphabet 
by Michael Symmons Roberts.
Cape, 230 pp., £10.99, March 2006, 0 224 07596 9
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... Weegee, aka Arthur or Usher Fellig, invented a certain kind of photography. His pictures of New York street life – crime scenes, car wrecks, society girls, circus freaks, racegoers, rough sleepers, fire victims – were intimate and direct. He used a 4x5 Speed Graphic camera, preset for instant shooting to 1/200th of a second at f16 with a focal distance of ten feet ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: How We Are

5 July 2007
... came to depend less on the nature of the photograph than on where and how it was seen. The work of Weegee and Cartier Bresson had a first life as news, in papers and magazines, and a second in books, as art. In classic photographic monographs, a form established in the mid-20th century, most images have a page to themselves. Captions are reduced to a list at ...


Jenny Turner: Eat the Document

7 June 2007
Eat the Document 
by Dana Spiotta.
Picador, 290 pp., £12.99, April 2007, 978 0 330 44828 4
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... fearful Mary remembers ‘Fred Hampton’s mattress . . . captured in the lurid black-and-white Weegee style that seemed to underline the blood-soak and the bedclothes in grabbed-at disarray’. Hampton was a promising young black leader, drugged then shot by the police in his bed, not that the novel tells us anything about him; its gaze ...

Vermicular Dither

Michael Hofmann: Stefan Zweig

28 January 2010
The World of Yesterday 
by Stefan Zweig, translated by Anthea Bell.
Pushkin Press, 474 pp., £20, 1 906548 12 9
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... a floral wrap and clean hair, and you can practically hear the ceiling fan going round. It makes Weegee look tame.Of course, the 43rd president of the United States knew whereof he spake, and there is such a thing as misunderestimation. As well as knowing him best, a man’s contemporaries have every reason for getting him wrong, but the fact remains that ...

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